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Oswego School District Looks To Fund Clubs

OSWEGO, NY – Some of the clubs whose advisors’ stipends were eliminated from the 2010 – 11 budget maybe getting a reprieve.

At Tuesday night’s Oswego school board meeting, member Dave White sought to have the funding returned for the Buccaneer Bulletin (school newspaper) club as well as for the yearbook, drama and sailing clubs.

Some of these clubs have been a staple at OHS for more than five decades, he pointed out.

“The sailing club,” he pointed out as an example, “has been around for over 30 years. I’m familiar with the sailing club because (advisor) Joe (Rotolo) is in my back yard.”

Dave White, left, makes some notes during Tuesday school board meeting. Looking on is John Dunsmoor.
Dave White, left, makes some notes during Tuesday's school board meeting. Looking on is John Dunsmoor.

“I think we need to put these things back. We have a long history with them,” he continued. “If we’re going to get rid of some of them, certainly we have an opportunity to do that. But, I think that we kind of might have acted in haste (cutting the funds). I would like to see them back; they serve a good purpose.”

“Just a general comment about all of these clubs, in fact what you’re seeing here are the stipends,” Superintendent Bill Crist explained. “The club itself hasn’t been cut. What we’ve cut was the stipend.”

That is just a nice way to say we haven’t cut the club, White noted.

“It’s like saying we haven’t stopped you from driving your car – but we aren’t going to give you no gas,” White pointed out. “If you look at these clubs, and the length of time that they’ve been here, I just think we should put things back.”

“Why do you need a yearbook club and a yearbook class?” board member Fran Hoefer wanted to know.

There is a lot of work that goes along with publishing a school newspaper and yearbook that takes place outside of the school day, board vice president Jim Tschudy pointed out.

Both the yearbook and Buc Bulletin are award-winning publications, and have been for a number of years.

Is there money in the district’s budget for the next school year that can be found for some of the stipends, the district’s business manager Pete Colucci asked rhetorically.

“We’ll march through the year, if it’s the board’s wish to put these back and at the end of the year we’re $36,000 over the $74.848 (budget); the board wishes to increase the budget at that time to make up the difference, I think we can figure something out,” he said.

“The problem is, once these things get eliminated, for any reason, they tend to stay eliminated,” White cautioned.

The board will need to, at some point, come up with $11,316 to fund the stipends White mentioned.

“I am all in favor of this. But I am not in favor of increasing the budget,” said board president Sam Tripp. “We put a budget number out for the public to vote on and they voted on it. I don’t think we should be raising it. If we do this, we need to find the money elsewhere.”

2 Comments

  1. I believe any academic clubs should be part of the curriculum, and get assistance from the State, not just the district. Examples might be Math Club, Astronomy Club, Drama Club (for English). Also, some athletic teams, although I don’t know which I would select. But the major ones. This is one taxpayer’s opinion, and of course, is not based on a lot of knowledge, just what I remember from my own schooling. MANY school districts do not have the opportunities that we have historical had. But history is history, and the present changes. OUR district use to be $$$ competitive with Amherst outside Buffalo, one of the most affluent in the nation! USE to be, with emphasis on what our tax base was in the heyday of industry.

    The Oswego City School District is no longer the self-sufficient and economically prosperous district it was in the 1970/80’s even into the 90’s. Those tax-exempt programs to keep what industry does remain in our community also substantially decreases our financing abilities. And, for some reason, we seem to forget this.

    Oswego is a seriously economically depressed county, one of the worst in the nation, and we literally cannot provide some of what we were able to in the recent past. There are just fewer taxpayers on the rolls, and we cannot live in denial of this. Sadly, it takes a lot of money to run for elected office, which includes the school board, and maybe they just don’t know how the lower middle class lives. MANY people don’t have any sort of insurance in our community, but they still are required to pay property taxes on their homes. We have to stop sacrificing these folks for what many see as unnecessary expenditures through government!

    The truth is, those who USE these clubs are usually those that might be able to pay for them if they had to do it (why soccer clubs, and drama groups outside the schools even exist!). The truly low-income kids either cannot afford the clubs (because they are working after school, or because they are NOT working, they cannot buy equipment, or pay the small fees necessary to go on trips, etc. Truly low income kids aren’t always invited or encouraged to join.

    So, it is mostly kids who are college-track, and have a little money to begin with, you are involved in these organizations. This is a truth that few recognize.

    In private schools/parochial etc., there are often fund-raising activities to fund extra-curricular activities. Kids (many who are seeking ivy league level educations in a few years) learn valuable life lessons (as well as getting to know their peers) through these activities. We aren’t talking about just candy drives, more like car washes, or lawn and clean up services, etc.

    In more affluent communities I have seen this sort of activity, although I see a lot less of it in Oswego. I have often wondered why do kids want someone else to pay when in larger cities, schools promote this sort of thing (or home and school).

    It might also be a nice idea if the Home and School provided ‘scholarships’ for the truly underprivileged kids to be involved in the clubs (loaned skis, $ for field trips), through donations from families who do have the money, as well as the above-mentioned fundraisers.

    So, my two cents is written above. Academic clubs should be funded, a few gym-related teams, and the rest, fund-raising by home and school and the actual teams and clubs. Free enterprise would benefit not just the kids, but the community. How many seniors might give the kids a $5.00 for a lawn trim? How many would love to have their cars cleaned (inside?) for $10.00?

    I believe the non-educator sector of this community is ‘tax stressed!’ When my own children were small, I was told I was being inconsiderate because my child could not attend an expensive trip. The individual, did not understand that this trip was out of our budget. And we are not among the lowest of the low, just lower than this teacher and her family. This individual really did not know how the other half lived, which is on a budget much lower than hers!

  2. This is the screwed up mentality of the Oswego City School District. Always looking for ways to spend more money rather than be efficient. Let’s get real here, folks.

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