Oswego School Board Approves 2010-11 Budget

OSWEGO, NY – Now, it’s in the hands of the voters.

The Oswego school board spent about two and a half hours Tuesday night cutting approximately $80,000 from the proposed 2010-11 spending plan.

The school board voted 5-2 to adopt the 2010-11 budget plan. Voters will have their say on May 18.
The school board voted 5-2 to adopt the 2010-11 budget plan. Voters will have their say on May 18.

Board members approved the latest budget option 5-2. Voting in favor of the plan were Sam Tripp, Jim Tschudy, Dave White, Tom DeCastro and Sean Madden. Fran Hoefer and John Dunsmoor were opposed.

At times, tempers flared and voices raised as board members argued back and forth about what to leave in and what to leave out; prompting board president Tripp to call for an impromptu recess for several minutes.

When school district residents go to the polls next month, they will be asked to vote on a $74,848,045 that contains a zero percent tax levy increase.

“Until one board member said he was going to campaign to have the public vote no, I was confident that we had a shot of passing it,” Tripp said of the budget. “I still hope we do. We tried to do the best we could, given the circumstances without depleting programs and destroying the district. We’ll see what the public says.”

The public really cares, Tripp said, adding, “The bottom line is what the tax levy is going to be and how much are their taxes going to go up. Right now, we’ve held that at zero.”

There are many uncertainties, the biggest of which is what Albany is going to do, he said.

“It’s a tough process, it really is. You’ve got seven board members coming from seven different areas. You’ve got administration coming from where they’re coming from; they are putting out there what they think is best for the students,” Tripp said. “The board members sometimes don’t always agree. So we went back and forth back and forth to try to reach some kind of resolution. The best we could do is what we came out with tonight.”

Fran Hoefer
Fran Hoefer

It costs the district $18,700 per student, according to Hoefer’s figures. To spend that much during “a budget crisis year” is “Twilight Zone stuff,” he said.

Six years ago, the district was spending 10 grand per student, “now we’re looking at 18, almost 19 thousand dollars per child,” he said. “A doubling of the cost per child, in just six years.”

“This whole thing has been the biggest joke I’ve ever seen. They’re just not on the same planet with everybody else,” Hoefer said following the meeting.

The only thing he was on board with was the minimum class size and the requirement for teachers to teach a minimum number of students, he said.

“The rest of this is a disaster, an absolute disaster,” he said. “The only solution we’ve got is turn this thing into a charter school. The only thing I can say people is get out and vote no, get out and vote no. This is an outrageous obscenity, an abomination. This process is thoroughly broken. Say no, please. We need to throw the union out, get these associations out of this process.”

There will be another public hearing on the budget on May 4 at 6 p.m. in the OHS cafeteria.

The public vote on the budget is set for May 18. Polls will be open from noon until 9 p.m.


  1. I agree with Fran, I will be casting my no vote and will encourage as many people as I possibly can to vote no. This is outrageous and way out of line.

  2. I still think more cuts have to be made…they are sugar coating the budget because , next year or the year after thay are going to have the same problem.Lets face it, the city population is decreasing each year due to tax increases. People can not afford anymore tax hikes.

  3. How is it outrageous? You voters are NOT getting a tax raise and the programs for kids are NOT getting hurt that much. This is the problem with this community. Everyone is so political and they are not worried about education! You vote no and programs get hurt and STUDENTS suffer and they end up with less opportunities. VOTE YES!!!

  4. How can a zero increase in the tax levy be way out of line and outrageous? I and many others will encourage as many as we can to vote yes on this budget.

  5. I agree with Fran, the total budget is way too high. They need to start the process of eliminating a school to prepare the OCSD for the future. We are using surplus money to keep the tax levy at 0% increase, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you can’t keep doing that and still maintain a surplus. Everyone thinks that if taxes don’t go up and we don’t lose programs, we should be thankful. You are ignoring the issue, covering it up until next year or the year after for someone else to address.

    Vote No!

  6. Right, how is a zero percent tax increase BAD?!?! Vote in support of this budget. It is a fair budget. Don’t listen to a few “bad apples”. I swear that half of the people would jump off the bridge if you know who told them to. Blind following. Go on line, read the budget, watch the videos, then make an informed decision. Vote YES!

  7. What is out of line and outrageous is a $6 million increase from last budget year to this one. The district is spending way, way too much money. The public will hopefully defeat this budget so an additional $2.2 million in cuts will be made. Any budget that has conference travel, raises for teachers, a director of AIS/data, a director of literacy, a director of math, and teachers who work a sum total of 3.5-4 hours per day is a budget that is way too much. Additionally, after all the years in the early 2000’s that we went through with double-digit tax increases, even a 0% increase is not enough. We are due for a tax decrease, especially since the OCSD and its terrible teaching staff is not giving us what we are paying for. We are paying for an education for children and they are only producing that for the 68% who graduate. OCSD administrators and OCTA members are pitiful excuses for “educational professionals,” in my opinion.

  8. A school will still be closed next year, according to some board members I have spoken to. They just want more time to fairly and accurately assess which one to close. We should vote YES for this budget since it holds the line on taxes. Realistically most districts around us have to raise taxes. Our board is not; let’s support their efforts!

  9. The good, smart citizens of this city will pass this budget. Vote yes. Amanda, I’m sorry you hate this community so much. There are very nice communities elsewhere. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  10. Jr, I love this community so much that I hate what the teachers are doing to it. They and the administrators and the puppet board members that they elect are destroying this community all to make a profit. This community has wonderful people in it, aside from the people who work for the Oswego City School District. We do not deserve what this school system does to us. People in Oswego work hard to make ends meet and OCTA has no problem stealing from us. I am so fed up and incredibly frustrated with it. This school district could be downsized without affecting the children if only Oswego’s teachers and administrators worked for a living and earned a reasonable salary. Teachers START at 50,000 and with a 22% raise, they are at over 60,000 within 5 years of teaching. That is not reasonable given the amount of work that they do. Where else do you start at 50,000 for a PART TIME JOB? What other PART TIME JOBS offer 22% raises? It’s outrageous and is strangling this community and others around us. Start them at 25,000 anf give raises based on performance and amount of children taught, and take away tenure. Our children would not suffer, and the taxpayers would have their taxes cut by 75%. We would have teachers who teach and want to do a good job, not people who are in it for the riches. They along with every last administrator is a complete disgrace to the community that I love. This budget must be defeated.

  11. Amanda, you have no clue what teachers do all day. They work more than the periods they teach. They have to prepare, plan, make copies, call/email parents, attend meetings and, most important, work with students outside of class. Plus, they have to deal with some rude, insubordinate children who do not come prepared, do homework, or care about school. I have volunteered and know how bad some kids really are. My children’s teachers have been wonderful and very supportive. If you think the job is so easy, go do it for a week at each level. I am sure you will change your mind.

    Vote YES!

  12. Every single OCTA member makes too much? You don’t like a single teacher in the school district? Not one person has done a satisfactory job? Wow, you get the hyperbole award.
    I’m just interested in knowing what the dissenting board members feel is the right solution. They voted to close, or “repurpose” a school. Then they said we have plenty of money, unrepurpose. Then they screamed at each other like little children, so much so that they had to have a time out for a few minutes. At almost every turn the administration has given them what they wanted, and they said, “No I want this instead.” (Veruca Salt comes to mind) Then the administration said ok, here you go and they scream bloody murder. WHAT DO YOU WANT? This board wants to micro manage the school district, then do it; give us the solution. I know what they want. They want you to vote NO, so they can say “we had to close a school; the budget didn’t pass. It’s not my decision, I had to.” Real leadership…

  13. Amanda, there is no way you care about this community. Your hate-filled rant against every OCSD employee is completely uncalled for. My child has had absolutely wonderful teachers, and he is in 5th grade. I see hard working indviduals all over the district from the custodians, to the aides, to the secretaries, to the teachers, to the bus drivers, to the librian, to the cafeteria staff and on and on. You said “This community has wonderful people in it, aside from the people who work for the Oswego City School District. ” I’m ashamed that the editors of this forum have allowed you to post that. Here’s some advide: get off your rear and go to college and become a teacher if you think they’re doing so bad, you do better then. Pack up and move to a new community—where they are RAISING school taxes. People like you aren’t needed in Oswego. Your half-truths and negativity aren’t needed here. I applaud those individuals in our community that have the commn sense to make the right choices for our kids in the community.

  14. Could someone please explain to me the point of having a surplus? No other districts in the area build their budgets in order to put money into an account to “use at a later date” and then refuse to spend it. If it isn’t to be used to supplement our children’s education then what IS it for? WHY on earth are we “planning for a rainy day” and not using it when it’s pouring?? State budget cuts are worse than ever and not getting better… I’m not trying to be snarky here, I really don’t get it. What is the money SUPPOSED to be for?

    And FYI: Teaching IS NOT a part time job. GOOD teachers work extremely hard and pour their heart, soul AND time into what they do. If you don’t understand this, try shadowing one for a week. And then ask them how much of THEIR OWN TIME they spend on school related materials. And how much of their summers are spent writing and adapting curriculum for “YOUR” children. OUR kids go to school too. And OUR families suffer the result of lost time and late nights at conferences and meetings. So the next time you clock out of your 9 to 5 job and go home to watch T.V. ask yourself if you could do something nice for your child’s teacher once in a while, or at least teach your children some respect.

  15. Amanda, I’d love to know where you get your facts. Teacher’s do not start at $50,000 so there is your first false statement. Second, teacher’s do many wonderful things for the community besides teach the children here. Maybe you should attend a few city functions and see all the things the teacher’s do for people from helping the Red Cross to the Cancer Society to the needy families at holiday times, the list goes on. You people in Oswego who would vote no are the ones who give teacher’s no credit. Did you have a bad experience in school? Maybe you should all visit the school’s and see how hard the teacher’s are working.

  16. Herb, I have to disagree with you. If you were at the last meeting, you surely picked up on John Dunsmoor asking why the numbers of positions changed from one week to another and he got no answer from Mr. Crist. All he wanted was an honest answer and he got none. If that were your boss asking you a direct question and you refused to answer, what would happen? Might your boss get angry? Maybe you caught Mr. Hoefer pointedly directing Mr. Crist to follow their orders about reducing class sizes and advising him that he must carry out their directive or “someone will be fired”. I don’t believe that we have a spoiled board who wants to run things. I believe that we have a board that has no faith in the ability in it’s administration. There is a big difference!

  17. Interested,
    Perhaps the real debate is who is in charge. Mr. Hoefer and Mr. Dunsmoor tell the administrators to “do this or I will fire you”. “You work for me.” The administration has to worry about more than the bottom line. They are responsible for dealing with the logistical problems that board members refuse to acknowledge. You surely heard our science team leader mention that well over 100 hundred students will not be able to take their science classes with the number of teachers and student loads that are being proposed. I also heard an argument for 50% of the athletic budget being added back by the same person who was complaining that some academic positions were restored. Cut more teachers and restore athletic cuts; proposed by their administrator? What is the agenda of this board? They had a chance to curb spending with option 2 but they rescinded that. I also heard Mr Dunsmoor acknowledge the gamble that he made with taxpayer money when he decided to break the OCTA contract. How are we going to pay for that? How are you going to fix the schedule mid year. Who cares? This board wants to be in control of the bottom line and stick their heads in the sand with the real problems their short sighted decisions create. If your boss demanded you handle a project and at every step said, “Nope your wrong, do it again. Nope your wrong, do it this way.” How would you handle that?

  18. The real problem with MOST of these board of education members is that they are looking out for themselves and are uneducated themselves. They are trying to take their seat on the board and turn it into a big show of fame for themselves. Instead of doing it for the right reasons, for the students of the district, they are doing it for themselves. These board members don’t go to the schools to see what good things are happening. They don’t know what kind of curriculum is being taught. They don’t know what kinds of students are out there. All they know is what they see on paper, that’s it! At least the common council are out in the city and doing things, going to peoples house, talking to residents. The board of education does not step foot in these schools and continues to trash the things going on without any evidence themselves. It’s a very sad state that our board of education is in, ONLY LOOKING OUT FOR THEMSELVES AND HAVING NO IDEA OF WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON IN OUR SCHOOLS.

  19. The most disappointing part of this entire debate is the obvious lack of experience and sound judgement exhibited by the members of the Board of Education. They are elected to those positions so that they may serve as STEWARDS and CARETAKERS of the school district. But instead, they arrive with agendas – some hidden, some not.

    They should be working as a team to assure the highest quality education possible for our sons and daughters, while being respectful of our economic climate. What they actually demonstrate is concern only about the dollars and their personal needs for attention.

    I think the only thing to vote no about is the re-election attempts any of them might make.

    What a great and cost-effective school district we would have if the Board, the administrators, the support personnel, the teachers, and the students could collaborate on cutting costs and building quality. I would suggest that the students are far better suited to demonstrating leadership, innovation, creativity, and a sane approach to these issues than the Board of Education could ever hope to have.

  20. Agree with you all—And we have them running around screaming to vote no on top of it all. Voting no will SIGNIFICANTLY hurt the education of the students here. Not the teachers or administrators, but the students will lose out. Vote Yes, support the budget, and consider running for the board of education to make the district better. Get some of these anti-education people off the board and get some people on there that number 1—care aboutkids. If they care about kids, then they can make informed decisions.

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