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Oswego Middle School “School in Good Standing”

Staff Report

OSWEGO, NY – Oswego City School District officials received notification that Oswego Middle School is now a “School in Good Standing.”

The Oswego Middle School has been removed from the New York State Education Department “Schools in Need of Improvement” list.

Bonnie Finnerty, entering her second year as the Oswego Middle School principal exclaimed, “I am thrilled by the announcement made by the New York State Education Department. The faculty and staff at Oswego Middle School are to be commended for truly coming together as a team in a collaborative effort to look objectively at our issues and creatively generate solutions.”

Superintendent of Schools Bill Crist was excited over the news saying, “We are very pleased with this announcement that the Oswego Middle School is now a ‘School in Good Standing’. Our administration, teachers, staff and students have worked very, very hard on focused goals and improved student achievement.”

The Oswego Middle School was placed on this State Education Department list in the areas of ‘economically disadvantaged and special education” population.

Crist noted, “We have put in place initiatives in and out of the classroom that identify and support those two specific groups as well as focus on all of the other students as well. We have looked at Academic Intervention Services to provide more comprehensive support to students indentified to be in need of this type of service.”

The superintendent added, “It is a great feeling and fantastic to know that the work that is done on a daily basis is paying off. We continue to focus our attention on all students as we provide a quality educational program for students in this community.”

Finnerty said it wasn’t easy to accomplish the task of being removed from the State Education Department’s list.

Her teaching staff was critical in the success as she explained, “They asked tough questions, from facility related issues to instruction to food service to assessment and were willing to go above and beyond to do what was best for our students. I wish to thank our OMS parents and the Oswego City School District for fully supporting our endeavors this past year. I look forward to another excellent year and anxiously await the Sept. 9 arrival of our newest great minds. They will change the world one day.”

Crist summarized the accomplishment by saying, “I see this as only the beginning of the great things, not only for the Oswego Middle School, but for the Oswego City School District as a whole.”

8 Comments

  1. Great news. They should (and probably will) award themselves a 22% raise to celebrate this accomplishment. Too bad the party will be over next year when Fran gets enough votes elected to the board to force OCTA to teach 6 periods a day.

  2. This is great news!!! Good work OMS Students, parents, faculty, staff, and administration. Interestingly, this good news on the same day Fran Hoefer berates the teachers there. He obviously spends no time in the schools to know what is really going on there.

  3. Congrats to OMS students and staff! I agree with Jonathon that Fran needs to step foot in a school and know what is going on before he berates teachers. If he did that he would see some of the initiatives that are being used to raise standards and graduation rates in our district.

  4. The fact of the matter is that we will be facing huge pension shortfalls next budget year. This is because we need to pay teachers to retire at 55 and receive a pension, generous health benefits, and a paid Medicare premium, all state tax-free. Next year the students and taxpayers will suffer with increased taxes and less “initiatives” while the teachers maintain their day of minimal work and a 22% raise. OCTA has never felt the effects of hard budget times. By asking our teachers to step up and work harder, personnel costs at OMS and OHS could significantly be reduced without compromising the quality of education or class size. Aside from board members Hoefer, Tripp and Dunsmoor, it seems that everyone in the school district is completely oblivious as to the economic state the country is in. Why does NYSUT feel they should be exempt to working harder? Our elementary teachers only have 1 period for planning and 1 for lunch and frankly, they have more they need to juggle. Why do secondary teachers need 2 planning periods? A 6 period day must be instituted. If members of OCTA would rather not work for a living, the taxpayers would be happy to see them resign. They can go to another district and will surely not find anywhere where they can get 22% raises, 90% health benefits, a 3.5 hour work day, tiny class sizes, etc.

    How many of teachers have second jobs in real estate and etc? And how many times have we seen pictures of cars with OCSD parking stickers parked at the Captains Quarters during the school day? These pictures were a frequent on Inside Oswego in the past. Fran’s generalizations may be too sweeping but are true for many teachers.

  5. FACT: The teacher’s pension system does not rely on your property taxes. It is self-funded and maintained. If you don’t like the property tax system in New York, work to reform that. Many teachers dislike it too.

    FACT: Not all teachers retire at 55, nor receive free benefits. In fact, most teachers who are working now are considered Tier 4 by the retirement system and do not enjoy the same perks as teachers in former tiers.

    FACT: A teacher’s day is not “minimal work”. Anyone who has followed a good teacher or knows a good teacher knows this. There are teachers who are not working to their fullest, but they are few and far between and should be dealt with individually, not through sweeping criticism of everyone.

    FACT: Many teachers in this district are also parents of children who go to school here and are also taxpayers. Don’t forget this fact.

    FACT: Yes, teachers may sign out to go to Captain’s Quarters during the day. So can lawyers, doctors, etc…

    FACT: Many teachers have multiple stickers for different vehicles. Did anyone ever consider that a spouse, child, or other member of a household may be using a car with a sticker for the day? Probably not, because it is easier to just assume that teachers are there. Well, we all know what assuming does!

    MYTH: “By asking our teachers to step up and work harder, personnel costs at OMS and OHS could significantly be reduced without compromising the quality of education or class size.” FACT: The quality of education is impacted by adding more students to a teacher’s load, regardless of the class size.

    MYTH: “Our elementary teachers only have 1 period for planning and 1 for lunch and frankly, they have more they need to juggle.” FACT: It is not necessarily more work at any level, just different.

    MYTH: “22% raises, 90% health benefits, a 3.5 hour work day, tiny class sizes, etc.” FACT: These are inaccurate observations.

    FACT: Many teachers will be glad to have BOE members shadow them to see what really happens in our schools. Get the facts before you pass judgment.

  6. It is very clear to see the people that understand education and the one’s that just make assumptions. Nicely said Jane…

  7. FACT: The teacher’s pension system requires contributions from local school districts. The local OCSD district is facing a $7 million shortfall next year because the “self-funded and maintained” pension system lost investment returns in the bad economy. The $7 million shortfall will be made up in property taxes.

    FACT: Teachers CAN retire at 55 or even younger and most do retire in their 50’s, leaving the taxpayers to foot the bill for 30+ years. As Fran Hoefer pointed out in June, retired OCSD employees are receiving their Medicare Part B for free from the school district. This is not required, not contracted for, and not done in any other school district.

    FACT: What lawyers and doctors choose to do during their work day is of absolutely no concern to me, nor should it be for anyone else. They are part of the private sector and I do not contribute to their salary unless by choice. I do have to pay teacher’s salaries and thus do not expect them to be going to work out during the day, or expect them to be working on their second jobs during the day. Teachers need to be in the building at all times, doing something productive.

    FACT: In the midst of the 2005 budget cuts this very website had a report about the poetry club. It had quotes from the advisor, who was paid over $600 to advise the poetry club. She stated that she spent her planning periods working with students on the poetry club activities. I thought planning periods were supposed to be part of her regular duties, and the $600 extracompensatory stipend was to be for work completed outside of the normal school day. I suspect that many other teachers have enough free time in their day that they double dip, complete work for both their regular salary and extra stipends, and then after school hours, do not have to do anything to earn their little “bonuses.”

    FACT: Teachers at OMS and OHS spend their duty periods grading papers and doing other parts of their job that are not actually teaching. They thus milk the duty period into a third planning period.

    MYTH: “The quality of education is impacted by adding more students to a teacher’s load, regardless of the class size.” FACT: If we had a competent teaching staff who would be willing to pull together and get the job done, this wouldn’t be a problem. If this would affect the quality of education, it would be due to an entitled, spoiled, work-averse teaching staff. Yes, adding a period would affect morale, and teachers would be whining, but that is because they think public education is all about them. FACT: It’s not.

    “It is not necessarily more work at any level, just different.” If elementary and secondary teachers do not have “more” work than each other, then why do secondary teachers get more time off during the day? If OCTA’s elementary teachers can do it, then so can the secondary teachers.

    Regarding my “inaccurate observations,” I beg to differ. The 2006-2011 contract contains a 22% raise. The local newspaper recently reported that class sizes in Oswego are comparitvely low. Five periods a day equates to three and a half hours.

    FACT: Mr. Hoefer was elected on a known anti-OCTA platform. He is undefeated in school board elections and actually received in 2003 what was up until then the highest vote total in school district history. He promised the people of this community that he would do what he could do to combat OCTA. This community expects him to live up to that promise. He is doing what he has promised in trying to get more for the taxpayer’s investment in public education with less money. For him to “shadow a teacher” and give even a fraction of inch of ground to the union would be a betrayal to Oswego’s taxpaying public. Dave White, Sean Madden, Jim Tschudy and Tom DeCastro were elected to cater to OCTA. Leave that job to them. Budget shortfalls become a game of give and take between OCTA and the taxpayers. The union and its self-serving interests is the enemy (notice I say the union and not individual teachers). As someone who voted for Fran, I do not expect him to cross enemy lines and see things from the union’s perspective. Oswego’s teachers have been living the high-life and are incapable of seeing things from the perspective of the private sector taxpayer, so until they do, the favor need not be returned.

  8. Jerry, nothing you are saying is accurate except the reason why you voted for Fran. For you to even use such phrases as “cross enemy lines” is scary. This is the school board, no Iraq. You don’t understand the school system either and every one of your rants is based on something you heard or read on a gossip website that is based on hearsay and lies. Did you ever consider that maybe the poetry club student couldn’t make it after school? Maybe they wanted to be part of the club, but couldn’t make all the meetings due to work, home responsibilities, sports…So based on you “findings” they shouldn’t be helped during the day during their study hall. Not one ounce of your retirement “observations” are true either. You have picked out numbers that you make it sound a lot more impressive than it is. The point is, Fran will go out of his way to embarrass or humilate teachers publically, without showing all the facts. He is a board of ed member. He disquises his hate under the guise of taxes. I don’t see him going to Albany to protest the state taxes which are rising nearly triple what the school tax rates are. That is becasue it really isn’t about taxes…it is about teachers. Why isn’t Fran protesting police or firefighter salaries? Same with you Jerry…they have pensions and retirements and they are on the taxpayers dime….He doesn’t respect teachers for some personal reason, so this is how he will feel better. Education is about finding the best way to motivate and inspire. I support our schools and the difficult job they have. I give the same respect to police and firefighters for the same reason.

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