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School Board Agrees On Budget With 3.81% Tax Increase

OSWEGO, NY – The school district finally has a budget in place for the coming school year.

At a special budget meeting Tuesday, the board of education voted 4-2 (BOE vice president Sally Nettles was absent) to approve a budget with a 3.81 percent tax rate increase – the same as the original budget which was defeated May 20.

Board member Dave White, right, checks some budget figures with Superintendent Dave Fischer, left. Looking on is board member Sean Madden.“We went from a 5.58 percent budget (proposed June 17) and reduced it. Revenue from the ed center lease ($62,760) as added, equipment was taken out ($156,000), supplies reduced by 25 percent ($116,188), marching band uniforms out ($45,000), and one teacher on special assignment to general fund ($97,000). That brought it down to 3.81,” according to David Fischer, superintendent.

“We have to, at some point in time, recognize that we’re at a capacity within the community to support tax increases,” board member Fred Maxon noted. “By supporting a higher tax increase, we’d be hastening the downfall of the district.”

The first budget plan was defeated May 20.

Voters shot down the second proposal on June 17, which reinstated 10 positions.

Those positions remain in the third incarnation of the 2008-09 budget.

Looking back, it’s understandable why people said no to the previous budget proposal, board member Sean Madden said.

“If we can get down to 3.81 and still keep and maintain the integrity of these programs then I don’t think that’s a bad thing,” he added.

Maxon pointed out the district could be treading in dangerous waters if it tried to restore positions that had been recommended to be cut and come back to the voters with a large tax increase.

“This is year one of what’s going to be a multi-year effort to reduce the size of our personnel costs in the district,” he said. “It’s going to be a number of years of trying to bring the district into some kind of size that makes sense for our community.”

Over the years of contract negotiations, there hasn’t been hardly any giving back from the bargaining units, board member Dan Hoefer observed.

“I don’t see that happening. It’s not that I hate teachers or anyone else, but I haven’t seen it,” he said.

Over the next few years, the teachers union, for example, should forgo stipends for things outside of teaching in the classrooms, he suggested.

“All these different groups need to get together because if not it’s going to be all these young ones with the new ideas who are going to get axed,” he said. “That will in turn hurt the kids because class sizes are going to expand and things are going to be eliminated. It’s just a bad situation. I don’t think it’s fair for the board to make certain things like that happen. It has to come from within; everybody’s got to give something back.”

“The ultimate responsibility of what happens rests here,” board member Dave White said. “Part of our problem, I think, the last time is we didn’t get very many concessions. Our responsibility is to be as hard-nosed as they are.”

Voting in favor of the spending plan were Hoefer, White, Madden and Jim Tschudy.

Voting no on the budget proposal were Board President Maggie Tiballi and Maxon.

9 Comments

  1. Dan Hoefer spoke the absolute truth in this article, I just don’t like the way he voted. What part of NO do these people not understand? The people who wanted those art/library/music/PE positions to remain in the budget got outvoted twice by a 3-2 margin. They should have cut those 10 positions. But no, the taxpayers have to suffer once again.

  2. Oh and by the way I am filing a complaint with the state since this budget is over the $65.84 million limit for a contingency budget. The cap is 3.36% not some fantasy number that the pro-OCTA people come up with

  3. More board members bashing teachers for their incompetence. They are the ones that approve/reject the financial things that happen in this district. For 2 years they felt that there needs to be no small increase in taxes even though the price of everything in the world was increasing. Now when the going gets tough and they have to live with their decisions, turn the attention on the teachers and some how make it seem like they are the problem. I hope that people see through this. If they don’t agree on “concessions” then they didn’t have to accept their negociated contract. Don’t turn around and say they need to give more now because the board can’t run itself. I’m really disappointed.

  4. The Board of Education’s passing of the 3.81% tax increase for the 2008/2009 school budget is just another example of the failure of democracy in America. The Board of Education’s blatant disregard of the results of the first two budget proposals is not only electoral negligence, but criminal for their failure to uphold the trust of the people who duly elected them to their public offices. All my life I thought the word “no” meant “no”, but I guess I must be wrong because the Board of Education seems to think that “no” means “yes”. The members of the Board of Education claim they are looking out for the best interest of our children education by disregarding the no votes on 5/20 and 6/17 by fabricating unrealistic justification for why the budgets failed to pass. Thank you Board of Education for sending the crystal clear message to our children and too the taxpayers of this community that our most sacred and fundamental right as citizens of this democracy; the right to vote in order for our voices to be heard, DOES NOT EXIST IN OSWEGO!!!

  5. These school board members gave away the store and now act totally baffled that taxes MUST go up. Its just like charging too much on your credit card, sooner or later you gotta pay up. You can’t give out 4%+ raises and then act surprised at how high a tax increase. Stupid is what stupid does!

  6. Jonathon, here are the facts: 10 votes on raises took place this year.

    Dan Hoefer voted no 9 out of 10 times (only voted yes for CSEA)
    Dave White and Sean Madden each voted no 7 out of 10 times (yes for AAP, CSEA, COASA)
    Maggie Tiballi, Sally Nettles and Fred Maxon each voted yes 10 out of 10 times
    Jim Tschudy voted yes 9 out of 10 times (abstained on AAP vote)

    So I do think Dan Hoefer does have every right to complain and blame the teachers/teacher sympathizers. He voted no to every single contract and every raise besides CSEA (the only union in the district that works hard and does a good job). Its not Dan Hoefer’s incompetence as a board member, its the Fab Four.

    The teachers certainly are the problem, there is only a limited pool of resources that taxpayers can provide and for a union that is famous for its mission statement of “do it for the kids!” they sure are quick to gobble up the taxpayer resources before the kids can get their share. And Dan is right about the stipends. They get paid to “advise” clubs that are run by student officers. If they are “doing it for the kids” why can’t they volunteer? And they are paid to be bus supervisors. But they only care about ensuring the bus safety of the children if they get paid a massive stipend to do it. OCTA is not living up to the spirit of their “do it for the kids” motto so it is time to be upfront and change the motto to “do it for our pockets!”

  7. What part of “no” does the school board not understand? The very budget increase that was voted down in the first vote has once again been approved by the board. Is it any wonder that people like me and many others have left Oswego precisely because of such intransigent malfeasance by the board? If I were still in Oswego JUST MY school taxes would be greater than ALL of the taxes I currently pay in (no snow, no Harborfest, LOW utilities) Arizona. The whole thing is a disgrace! Then again, what else do you expect from a place like Oswego?

  8. This is a who shot John game. Except it is no a game. The voters have spoken and no one will make a decision to down size the school district. The ratio of student to Teacher is much above the state and federal level. Folks the money may not be there in the next five years so everyone must tighten the purse strings. They’re many ways to cut spending it’s not always the hourly wage earner or supplies. The State goverment may have the last word on this budget. I’m for starting a work group for ideas to suggest to the board of education. I think the the budget was display not enough in detail so the man on the street could fully understand where the funds are raised and distributed. It is only common sense that if enrollment goes down then you don’t have same demand for instructors. I believe if everyone works together something can be done to solve the old tax and spend attitude. The students have to understand this also.

  9. The people need to know who voted for raises and who didn’t.teachers contract-4-3 vote,yes votes were maggie,fred,sally,jim-no-dave,dan,sean.principals contract-4-3 vote,yes votes were maggie,fred,sally,jim-novote-dave,dan,sean.Administration contract 4-3 yes votes maggie,fred sally,jim-no votes-dave,dan,sean .csea vote 7-0 vote yes.Superintendent contract pulled because four members were going to vote it down and it wasn’t maggie ,fred or sally.So you have close to three mill.in contracts that could of been less if the vote was different.So people before you go bashing get your facts right to what area you want to [complain] about.

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