School Board Debates Removing Fran Hoefer – Again

OSWEGO, NY – As Tuesday night’s school board meeting wound down, Fran Hoefer wound up and made several accusations that prompted some members of the board asking that the district once again begin legal proceedings to have the maverick removed from the board.

One member of the board asked, “What would that cost?” to which the superintendent solemnly responded, “Only lawyers’ fees.”

Hoefer told his colleagues, “Bring it on,” as he plans to use this as a springboard to do battle with the State Commissioner of Education over things such as tenure.

At the Sept. 14 special board meeting the school board never publicly discussed tax rate option three or tax rate option two, Hoefer said.

“These options were withheld from the news media. For the public record, option three would have reduced the school property tax rate by 11.65 percent. Option two would have reduced the school tax rate by 6.43 percent. At the Sept. 14 board meeting, Dave White said that he pays taxes too. The fact is that Dave White, Tom DeCastro and Jim Tschudy do not pay New York State income tax on their pensions,” according to Hoefer.

According to Bill Foley, district clerk, the figures were being discussed by the board for the first time the night and they were available to the media following the board’s review and discussion.

Hoefer went on to claim the trio pay “minimal school property tax” and “the taxpayer funded STAR pays their taxes for them.”

“These three men have substantial lifetime New York State income tax free income guaranteed by the New York State taxpayer for a minimal property tax burden,” Hoefer said.

What it all boils down to is that “three of the people who refused to give tax relief to this community are only minimally subject to the taxes they refuse to reduce,” Hoefer said. “It’s really easy to inflict taxes that you yourself do not have to pay.”

None of the three men pay anywhere near their fair share of taxes, Hoefer alleged.

“Mr. (Peter) Colucci! Would you do me a favor?” Board President White interjected, calling on the district’s business manager. “My assessed value of my home when I lived in the town of Oswego was $120,000. Take the STAR program off of that, which brings me down to, what, 90 (thousand dollars)? Now, figure out what that $22 last year cost me. How much was it? On this minimal tax that I don’t pay.”

It was about $1,900 the business manager replied.

“You know, Franny, let me give you a little friendly advice. Before you run your mouth like a whippoorwill’s behind, you might wanna go and look at what people are paying,” White said. “I don’t mind you taking a cheap shot but you ought to at least get the price right. I’d like to pay what you’re talking about, minimal. But I don’t think $1,900 is minimal.”

“I do. Compared to everybody else,” Hoefer retorted. “You don’t pay your fair share.”

”I pay my fair share, Franny. And if you don’t like it, too bad!” White said.

“I don’t like it,” Hoefer responded.

“Then tough luck,” White answered. “You run your mouth and you haven’t got a clue as to what you’re talking about.”

Then, DeCastro, a retired teacher, entered the verbal fray.

“First of all, I am sorry you weren’t smart enough to get into the same line of work as I did. As far as my school taxes, city taxes, county taxes what have you, I gave several years of my life, as did (board member) Sam (Tripp),  in the service of my country,” DeCastro said.

”Good for you,” Hoefer replied.

“And, I have also lived to age 72. There are some privileges that go with that and I am not ashamed of that. And, if you don’t like it – tough,” DeCastro continued.

DeCastro said the board should entertain the notion of removing Hoefer based on his voting record on tenure.

“His argument with tenure is not with us. It’s not with our teachers. He doesn’t belong here. He is using this so he can run a circus and it’s about time we put it to an end,” DeCastro told the board.

Hoefer indicated he’d welcome confrontation.

“I think that if the ultimate goal for Franny is to take on the commissioner…,” White started.

“My name is Francis Hoefer, Mr. White,” Hoefer corrected him. “I want some respect out of you for a change.”

”Well Franny, let me tell you something. Why don’t you show everybody else some respect, including myself?” the board president shot back. “Then maybe you’ll get some back.”

“When you stop ripping off the taxpayers of this district I’ll give you all the respect you deserve, my friend,” Hoefer said.

“Time out a minute!” White exclaimed. “No, no, no – I don’t want anybody to leave here thinking we’re cronnies.”

Tschudy made the motion to begin the process of seeking Hoefer’s removal from the board.

“Whether you agree with it our not, as we speak this (tenure) is the law,” he pointed out. “And when we are sworn in to the board, we take an oath to uphold the law.”

“Tenure is a disgrace, it’s an abomination, it’s damaging our children,” Hoefer said.

“Tell that to the state education commissioner,” DeCastro said.

“Somebody has got to stand up and challenge it. I’m doing it. Thank you for moving it and bringing the issue to the table. That’s why I’m here, to try to fix this mess,” Hoefer said.

White said he didn’t understand Hoefer’s motives, noting he had been removed from the board a few years ago and was now encouraging he same thing.

“If that’s what you’d like, I’d be happy to oblige you,” White said. “Is that what you want?”

”This has to be challenged in a court of law,” Hoefer said.

“Well, you’re going to have to do it, Franny, not us,” White replied.

“I will not, under any circumstances, approve tenure,” Hoefer said. “It’s interesting to me that the motion to remove me came up after I criticized three other board members for self service and misconduct.”

“I’m just asking is that what you want? I’d be happy to do it for you. But I just think it’s stupid,” White said.

As the vote was under way, Kathy Allen asked to table the matter to get further information.

Allen, DeCastro, White, Hoefer and Tripp voted in favor of tabling. John Dunsmoor voted no.

Hoefer abstained.


  1. These people are absolutely unbelievable. Fran doesn’t want a circus – he wants the truth. Tom DeCastro wants to turn his personal vendettas into a circus and if anyone should be removed, it should be him. He has consistently lied to the public and acted in an inappropriate fashion.

    Might I remind Tschudy and DeCastro, the electorate chose to override the decision of the 2004 school board. We made our decision knowing all the facts. We knew Hoefer would vote against tenure. We knew what he did last time around. And we elected him knowing all these facts. Hoefer “called a spade a spade,” or in this instance, called a gang of bandits a gang of bandits. Tschudy and DeCastro didn’t being called out, and made this ridiculous motion. These people are truly something else.

    Fran, keep up the good fight. Thank you for doing the right thing.

  2. Dave will get some sticker shock when he has to pay taxes on $161,000 instead of $108,000 . The good news is he has a year to save for it.

  3. Citizens may recall board members or other elected local officials if their leadership has been found lacking. Single members or entire boards can be recalled. If executed with good intent, a recall can be a proactive measure to ensure adequate community leadership in education. While most municipalities have their own code governing the process, much of it is standard.

    Read more: How to Recall School Board Members |

    Perhaps the ENTIRE board should be recalled, how many years have we had to put up with the selfishness of these people?

  4. Dave has only one person to blame for the “sticker shock” he will be getting, and he can look in the mirror to find that person. Dave has been the swing vote for 3 years now and always votes with the tax and spend crowd. I am tired of hearing him whine about his taxes when he has the power to change it.

  5. So just because Fran disagrees on some issues before the board, certain members decide that he should be removed because “he is not with them”? What kind of a democracy is this? You board members better start finding a way to decrease taxes. People are strapped and at their wit’s end. A little tax relief would be welcome. Leave Fran alone. If you don’t like what he says, then use the power of the vote that you have to move resolutions thru. Start focusing on how you can get the graduation rate up in your district. Dave, hold your tongue and stop calling Fran by any other names than what he is known by. Taxpayers don’t like to read about these little arguments that take up valuable time. Be professional for Pete’s sake!

    Sal Lanza Esq

  6. There is absolutely no basis to remove Fran Hoefer from the BOE. This is a kneejerk reaction from people whose egos could not take being called out for what they truly are. Maybe the people should entertain a recall petition on Tschudy and DeCastro. These two are disgraceful on every level. Shame on them.

  7. How are we supposed to expect our children to learn to become responsible adults when our board members show up to board meetings acting like children? Tschudy and DeCastro feel like they don’t like the way someone exercises his first amendment rights so they want to railroad that person. These two “men” should start acting like grown men and not like the children whose educational interests they are clearly not making any attempt to protect. Tschudy pays lip service to “do it for the kids” though he is only using his board position to cause trouble and settle scores.

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