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Oswego schools facing $3.8 million budget gap

Updated: October 14, 2012 1:13PM

OSWEGO — The budget shortfall facing the Oswego School District has shrunk in past weeks, but the budget gap that remains will mean some cuts around schools and the use of some rainy day funds.

District administrators presented the Oswego School Board with a budget update this week that forecasts a $3.8 million budget shortfall.

That’s an improvement over the $5.5 million gap in the draft budget presented last month.

According to Superintendent Matthew Wendt, administrators started with a $7.5 million shortfall at the beginning of the budget review process this summer.

To curb expenses, administrators are planning to make several smaller cuts around the district. The newly opened Murphy Junior High will operate with fewer custodians than planned. The district will not purchase new math textbooks for middle school students as previously planned, until it completes a curriculum review process at all grade levels.

Wendt also said administrators plan to use fewer consultants in curriculum and instruction, and “scale back on technology” — but did not offer specifics.

The district will still be purchasing computers and technology funded by federal grants.

“We believe we can find another half-million (dollars in savings),” said Wendt. “After a half-million, people are actually going to start to feel and notice it our schools.”

Rather than taking deeper cuts to operating expenses for this school year, the School Board could choose to use the district’s cash reserves to fill the $3.3 million to $3.8 million gap.

Using money from the district’s reserve fund had support from members of the board, but on the condition that administrators look for long-term solutions for the budget. The board is expected to vote on a proposed budget at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 at Oswego East High School, 1525 Harvey Road.

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