OSWEGO, NY â€“ Residents of the Oswego City School District had one last chance Tuesday night to voice their opinion on the proposed $74,848,045 budget for the next school year.
Only Sam Sugar, a candidate for the board of education, took the opportunity to speak.
However, some, board members included, had concerns after Superintendent Bill Crist completed his overview of the spending plan.
The budget can be viewed at the districtâ€™s web site at http://www.oswego.org/files/news/2010-11%20Proposed%20Budget.pdf
When school district residents go to the polls in a couple of weeks, they will be asked to vote on a $74,848,045 that contains a zero percent tax levy increase and doesnâ€™t close a school.
The final budget number was the same Tuesday, but some of the budget details werenâ€™t the same as when the board reviewed the budget last month before approving it.
â€œIt is somewhat different,â€ Crist said, adding it is basically still the same budget.
Three administrative cuts had been slated, Director of Grants and Partnerships, Security director, and a high school principal that was going to be moved to fill a vacancy at the middle school.
The board has opted to keep the security position and instead terminate the School Resource Officer position.
The board approved the dollar amount, Crist said. That part of the budget didnâ€™t change, he added.
â€œAll you gave us was (the number) what youâ€™re going to spend,â€ Sugar said during the public hearing.
He also asked why the district would consider cutting a science teacher and leave 133 students without a science teacher next year.
He favored more administrative cuts. Those who hang on this year are going to be cut next year, he told the board.
â€œThat budget will not sustain them,â€ he said. â€œWhy throw away money on useless expenditures and deny basic requirements? Weâ€™re a Regents school for crying out loud.â€
He also challenged the district to show why smaller class sizes are better for students.
â€œIâ€™ve never met anyone or read anything in print that said 20 to 22 or 23 to 25 (students in a class) has any basis in academic literature, any basis in academic studies. Where did these numbers come from?â€ he said.
Later, during the public session of the regular meeting, he said hiring a consultant to study the possibility of closing a school was â€œa great idea.â€
However, he wanted somebody impartial from outside the district to consult with the consultant.
â€œMany of our studies we might as well not have spent the money. Because those who are setting up the study usually have a predetermined agenda and the study comes back exactly the way they want,â€ he said. â€œWhat I want to see is a consultant to consult with the consultant. I want someone whoâ€™s unbiased with no agenda to set the stage.â€
“People are concerned about whether their taxes are going to go up,â€ said board president Sam Tripp. â€œThe bottom line is that we have a budget with a zero percent tax levy hike. Weâ€™ll have to see what the voters think about it.”
The public vote on the budget is set for May 18. Polls will be open from noon until 9 p.m.