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Oswego Board Member and Superintendent Lock Horns Again, This Time In Middletown

Fran Hoefer of the Oswego school board, foregound, is told by Will Geiger, board president, left, not to speak during the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Hoefer was escorted out of the building by Middletown police. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.
Fran Hoefer of the Oswego school board, foregound, is told by Will Geiger, board president, left, not to speak during the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Hoefer was escorted out of the building by Middletown police. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.
Fran Hoefer, center, of the Oswego school board, was not allowed to speak and exits the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Middletown police escorted Hoefer out of the building. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.
Fran Hoefer, center, of the Oswego school board, was not allowed to speak and exits the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Middletown police escorted Hoefer out of the building. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.
Fran Hoefer, right, of the Oswego school board, was not allowed to speak and exits the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Hoefer was escorted out of the building by Middletown police. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.
Fran Hoefer, right, of the Oswego school board, was not allowed to speak and exits the Middletown School board meeting on Thursday evening. Hoefer was escorted out of the building by Middletown police. Photo by Dominic Fiorille, provided courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego school board member Fran Hoefer is in trouble with the superintendent – of the Middletown School District.

Fran Hoefer
Fran Hoefer (file photo)

Hoefer made a trip to Middletown to attend Thursday’s board meeting and became involved in a dispute with Dr. Ken Eastwood, Middletown school superintendent, and former Oswego school superintendent.

Hoefer is an old nemesis of Dr. Eastwood’s; the two were at odds six years ago when Hoefer was first on the school board and Dr. Eastwood was the superintendent.

According to a report in the Times Herald-Record, Hoefer went to to Middletown to defend Middletown school board member Roy Paul who is in danger of being kicked off the board for misconduct.

In 2004, Hoefer was expelled from the Oswego board for similiar charges.

Dr. Ken Eastwood
Dr. Ken Eastwood (file photo)

According to the Times Hearld-Record:

“After an extended executive session on legal matters and a pleasant interlude in which scholar-athletes and art students were honored, Oswego school board member Fran Hoefer approached the microphone for public comment. President Will Geiger cut him off immediately, saying public comment was for local residents. Board member Nick Mauro loudly interjected that Geiger was violating open meetings law by stopping a nonresident from speaking. Hoefer tried to keep talking, and chaos momentarily ensued before Geiger called a recess and cut the video feed.

“Security asked Hoefer to leave. Middletown police were called.

“‘All I want to do is speak to the board,” Hoefer said. “I’ve been a victim of the same kind of illegal attack as your young board member.'”

Dr. Eastwood said Hoefer was asked to leave during a public comment period of the meeting after it was determined that Hoefer could not prove he was a taxpayer in the district.

Hoefer did not immediately leave the meeting.

“You have an evil man running your school district. He won’t allow people to speak,” Hoefer reportedly said as police escorted him out of the meeting.

Hoefer said he was invited to the meeting, but wouldn’t say by whom, according to the Times Herald-Record.

Neither Hoefer nor Dr. Eastwood have returned calls seeking more information for this story.

14 Comments

  1. GO FRAN! Keep fighting the good fight for the taxpayers. If people like Fran Hoefer and Roy Paul continue to be removed from school boards simply for challenging the status quo, nothing will ever change in this state. Fran is fighting some tough battles here in Oswego but his hands are tied in some areas until the state makes changes. That is why I am proud of Fran for doing this. I don’t know Roy Paul but I do know Ken Eastwood. If Eastwood is trying to remove Paul from the board, Paul is most certainly doing the right thing and is a good man.

  2. The premise of your argument, Amanda, is nonsensical. By your own admission, you don’t know Paul. I doubt more than a handful of people in Central New York heard of the guy before this article was published. To assume that he is in the right, simply because Eastwood opposes him, is an incredible myopic opinion. Your disregard of the facts and assumption of “guilt” on Eastwood’s part is the biggest problem in the school board fight in Oswego. Oswegonians are either “with Fran or against him”. He is hailed as a Robin Hood-figure, sacrificing himself for the good of the ill-begotten and fighting injustice. But there are flaws in his character, just as there are flaws in those on the school board, those teaching, and those voting.

    Why is it necessary to travel to another school board to assist the ill-begotten school board member who is being terrorized by the injustices of King Ken Eastwood? Hoefer did not do this out of the goodness of his heart. He wanted to make a fool of Eastwood. Hoefer wanted to humiliate Eastwood as he feels Eastwood humiliated him. Is this really the man you’re upholding as the savior for our city? A man who is no more advanced than a teenage boy, seeking public revenge through slander and libel? Those “on his side” are quiet to criticize him, as they will likely be slandered; Fran goes right for the guttural. People who are willing to say anything to make a point are not to be heralded; everyone of us is capable of saying terrible things to a person to cut them down to size and shut them up, but we don’t because once a person is silenced, the dialogue ends and the problem remains.

    Oswego School District has many problems, just as many do in NY state and the entire country. But by heralding this man, a renegade in every sense of the word, we will not succeed in creating change for the students. Do you believe he is a good role model for your children, with a no-holds-barred attitude toward all authority? He is not out for the kids; he is out for himself.

  3. I agree with Amanda’s comments. If Mr. Hoefer doesn’t, who will? He’s Eastwood’s Thorn!
    As Dr. Eastwood left our school district 6 years ago, it strikes me as odd that he is still drinking our bottled water. Isn’t that our logo? Did he take cases with him and someone over in the ed. building is shipping them down to him?

  4. Karen,
    Was it intended to make a fool out of Eastwood? Possibly so. But I also know that Fran has been frustrated on the OCSD school board with the changes that they are unable to make because the state binds them. The solution needs to start on a micro level and Fran is trying to do that. But if the solution begins with only one school board, changes are unlikely unless the spirit of change trickles down. It needs to happen across the state, and if Roy Paul is trying to do that in Middletown, I think Fran is trying to defend him for the good of the whole state. Fran has the admirable aspiration to change public education as a whole, and he’s doing something about it! Some other OCSD board members want to use their board positions to fulfill whatever personal agenda they may have, whether it be benefitting the unions, going on trips to NYC & California, or benefitting relatives. Fran has a goal in mind to make desperately needed changes. If Roy Paul is railroaded off the board (with the SAME EXACT law firm that Eastwood used to railroad Fran off in 2004), it is a hit to the change that Fran wants to get.

    I’m proud to have been one of Oswego’s majority who cast my vote for Fran last year, and I hope he keeps up his fight.

  5. To jr,even if it is a 6 yr vendetta he is makeing a school district aware of what went on when mr eastwood was here like a buget that was passed when tax payers voted no

  6. Suzyq, those new fangled computers allow peole who take pictures to save them for years and years. This is called an archival photo. It was taken while he was the superintendent of schools in Oswego. Our school district does not ship water bottles to former employees, but if you believe that, it is a sad, sad personification of the mindless minions that line up behind Mr. Hoefer. (in much the same way that many of these same people mock liberals for blindly following our president) With pretty serious issues in our own school district I question his ability to perform his duties as board member while engaging in statewide activism. That same question is being asked of Paterson’s ability to govern amidst scandal. I feel the validity of his lofty goals is not at issue. The budget vote is a little over two months away. How does this episode help the students this fall?

    [Editor’s Note: Herb’s right (and thanks for pointing it out). The headshots of Hoefer and Eastwood are from our archives. The three shots on top are from the board meeting, courtesy of the Times Herald-Record.]

  7. My history may be a little fuzzy, please “Mr. Editor note” help clarify. Was there a contingency budget during Mr Eastwoods time here or is Kevin confusing that with the 2008-2009 school year which neither Mr. Hoefer nor Mr. Eastwood had a role in. That would be David Fischer who is now in Bellingham, Mass. Does Mr. Hoefer have a right to speak at their board meeting? Sure he is not a MA resident but he does pay federal taxes which eventually trickle down to their tax base. Does he plan a visit to their town to speak of the supposed injustices in public education? I’m sure the patriotic residents of Bellingham yearn for this constitutional scholar to grace them with his presence. Perhaps it truly is a personal vendetta. Just looking for consistency.

  8. Herb, thank you for the correction. I didn’t realize computers were so advanced. Easy assumption regarding the pictures and water bottles. Dr. Eastwood seems to be wearing the same sports jacket in the local pictures and Middletown pictures.
    It would be interesting to know how much the taxpayers contribute to pay for fancy water bottles. Does water taste better with a Buccaneer logo on the bottle?

  9. Okay, let’s ask it this way: when Fran Hoefer accused Ken Eastwood, and the assistant superintendent for business who pleaded guilty to engaging in methampetamine transactions, when he accused them of “cooking the books” and spending much more than was ever budgeted, who ended up being correct? I specifically recall, less than 6 months after Fran’s removal, one of Eastwood’s puppet board members admitting to the Post Standard that “Fran Hoefer was right all along.” Eastwood and Harmony left the OCSD in financial ruin on their way out, and if people simply had the sense to listen to Fran Hoefer, this problem never would have come about. The 2005 OCSD budget crisis came as a direct result of Eastwood’s sneaky raiding of the reserves.

    History gives a great deal of credibility to Mr. Hoefer, and none to Eastwood.

  10. If Middletown takes state money then Hoefer IS a tax payer in that and every district in New York.

  11. This is why you people should keep your Oswego business to yourself. Lets take a look at the track record of both Districts since Eastwood left Oswego for Middletown. I believe your graduation rate was 90%, now it cant even make 70%. You’ve had 3 superintendents in 6 years. Not only are you in decline but you cant get anybody to keep the job. In Middletown, before Eastwood, the District was designated by the State in need of improvement, with a 20% drop out rate and a graduation rate of 50%. Since that time, graduation rates have improved to 75% and the drop our rate has dropped to 7%. The tax increases have been one of the lowest in the County out of 16 school districts. The State has taken the District off of the identified list and the Chancellor visited the District in February and called it one of the “model school districts in the State of New York”. This is why you should keep the Hoefer’s of the world to yourself. You want him, keep him. He was escorted out of here to thunderous applause by the audience. By the way, the raiding of reserves? If anything, our District has too much money in reserves. You think that maybe you problems back then were because of Niagara Mohawk skipping town or the depressed economy upstate. Keep blaming everyone else for your problems instead of trying to solve them. Just keep them to yourselves. We’re quite happy down here with Dr. Eastwood.

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