Oswego school superintendent discusses budget

Submitted by Oswego schools

Oswego City School District Superintendent of Schools Ben Halsey addressed the 2014-15 budget situation during the Tuesday night Board of Education meeting.

He reinforced his comments of an earlier meeting as he indicated there could be a tremendous personnel impact as the result of current revenue and expenditure estimates.

During the past two weeks Halsey, with the cooperation of Business Administrator Nancy Squairs, have met with principals and department heads in an effort to reduce spending and review staffing of each area.

“There has been a significant amount of work done to get to the next level,” he said and there has been about $3.8 million in proposed reductions.

About $329,000 in reductions is not “people related.”

He explained the magnitude of the $3 million gap. Halsey said the common educational formula would provide $1 million for every 15 positions. The reductions from the past two weeks of work amounted to 54 positions.

“Am I asking for 54 positions? No! But that is the magnitude of what we are looking at,” he said.

“This would be fully comprehensive and would run across the district. We are building a budget that benefits everyone,” he said.

Halsey indicated he was aware of the “sky is falling” feeling in the past and is aware this has taken place in the Oswego City School District.

“I am confident in our numbers and the $3 million deficit is real. The revenues have not reached the level that had been projected in a while,” he said.

During the March 25 meeting, Halsey would not release the list of potential reductions. He indicated he promised the various district union officials he would meet with them prior to making the public announcement in order for affected employees to receive the information first.

The budgetary numbers could change depending upon further information about the governor’s budget and final state aid.

Future discussion and research will be conducted on the budget. On April 8, the school board will have its committee meetings followed by an extensive budget workshop.

Those meetings, which are open to the public, will be conducted at the Oswego High School cafeteria beginning at 5 p.m.

The regular Oswego school board meeting on March 25 was brief.

The board:

** Accepted the resignation of Leighton Principal Julie Burger, who is retiring.  She has served as the principal for the school since 2007. She began teaching career at Riley Elementary in 1982 and was also a Teacher on Special Assignment for five years as she was involved with the implementation of the technology program.

** Approved Nancy Simmons-Henderson and Brenda Getman as teaching assistants in Minetto

** Approved Winter Guard Consultants Michael Tierney, Ryan Bronner, Alexandria Sivers and Shannon DeSantis.

** Approved a probationary appointment for School Lunch Manager Jane Wagoner.

** Approved a probationary appointment for custodian David Jonson.

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