Oswego board opts not to close elementary school

After much debate among administrators and residents, the Oswego School Board has decided that it will not close any schools as part of the current budget process.

Earlier this month Superintendent Bill Crist put forth a plan where Frederick Leighton Elementary School work be closed and the current district headquarters on East 1st Street would move into the former Leighton building. The office building would then be put up for sale, potentially saving the district $4 million. The approximately 400 Leighton students would have been reassigned to the district TMs remaining elementary schools.

According to district clerk Bill Foley, a budget workshop was held by the board Tuesday night, and it was decided that the Leighton school would remain open. The board has also delayed a plan to move sixth graders to the middle school.

Crist also wanted to cut nearly 60 faculty and staff positions to help make up a $5.5 million budget gap. Foley said that the reductions will come through retirement and attrition, and class sizes may increase slightly as a result.

Foley says the district will utilize reserve and surplus funds to make up the difference in the budget, and there will not be an increase in the school tax levy. He also said that the school administration is still working on final budget numbers.

The Oswego School Board will meet again next Tuesday at the high school to continue discussing the budget proposals.