OSWEGO, NY – The superintendent’s fourth draft budget is less than the first three. However, the Oswego School Board wants even more cuts before they feel comfortable presenting the tentative spending plan to the public for approval.
At $83,742,675 the current budget proposal is $656,000 less than it was just a couple days ago. Total reductions stand at $2,595,920.
The budget proposal contains a 28.30 percent projected tax increase.
Board members want to see that increase drop below 10 percent.
“We need to get this under control. Let’s be serious, blunt,” board member Sam Tripp said at Tuesday night’s meeting. “Most of our cost is in salaries. We need to look at every option.”
Superintendent Ben Halsey said he’d go over the budget plan again and look for possible reductions and potential increases in revenue.
However, further cuts at this point, he cautioned, will be felt by the students and staff.
He will present another draft budget at 9 a.m. Thursday at the board room in the Education Center.
The superintendent said his budget strategy included staying true to the district’s mission as well as continuing to provide quality education, making reductions in areas not impacting programming when possible, maintaining reasonable class sizes, base the 2015-16 state aid on the legislative proposal, utilize $1,000,000 from the tax certiorari reserve and to stay within the tax levy limit for the district.
The district received a state aid increase of $2,228,063 excluding Pre-K revenue.
Several retirements factored into the budget process, including: an assistant principal, school monitor and two teaching assistants at the high school; a math teacher at the middle school; an elementary teacher and a teaching assistant at Kingsford Park; an elementary teacher and a teaching assistant at Leighton; two elementary teachers at Fitzhugh Park; and a teacher’s aide at Riley.
Retirements that won’t be replaced are: a technology teacher and a health teacher at the high school; and two phys ed teachers at the elementary level.
Halsey pointed out that a security guard position at the high school will be replaced by a School Resource Office, provided by the Oswego Police Department.
As per a deal with OPD for office space at the Education Center, this position will result in a projected savings of $15,789.
The superintendent’s proposal contains some additions due to where the 2014-15 budget may have “cut too deep,” he said.
The additions are an English teacher and social studies teacher at the high school; three elementary teacher aides; two team leaders; and an assistant transportation supervisor.
The board has until April 24 to adopt a budget proposal.
A public hearing on the proposed spending plan will be held at the board’s May 5 meeting, which is slated to be held at the OHS cafeteria.