School board expands senior tax exemption eligibility

VALATIE–Following a public hearing last week, the Ichabod Crane school board inched up the income level that allows older taxpayers to qualify for the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Exemption

At its regular meeting Tuesday, December 1, the board adopted a motion “increasing from $28,000 to $29,000 the income which may be earned by the owner or owners of property within the district who are qualifying senior citizens and/or disabled persons, to provide for an exemption from real property taxation to the extent of 50% of the assessed valuation.” There is a sliding scale, with the reduction decreasing as income rises and a cap set at incomes of more than $37,400 a year.

The board also heard a presentation from elementary school students who are raising money to support educational programs in Pakistan and Afghanistan. After reading Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Gregg and Three Cups of Tea in their class they decided to start a program called “Pennies for Peace.” They collect pennies in elementary school and have designed posters to expand the program to the whole district.

Elementary School Principal John Stickles said that this program embodies the district’s mission statement, which says in part that the district’s goal is to participate in the community and meet challenges. He said that students were very excited about the program and he is very proud of them. They have raised about $100 in pennies.

The board also talked about the Communications Committee, made up of board members and district employees. Board President John Phillips, who is on the committee, talked about making the district website more user friendly. He said that the hope is to get as many items and updates on the website “as timely as possible.”

The Communications Committee is also talking about how to reach out to members of the community. The board members who attend the Columbia County School Boards meeting reported that group is discussing ways to talk to state legislators. The county group plans to meet this Monday, December 7, at 7 p.m. in the Ichabod Crane Middle School.

In other business, the board accepted the resignations of employees. David Valentine, a middle school science teacher, is retiring after 37 years with the district. Mr. Phillips called Mr. Valentine a “tremendously positive personality.” Brian Weaver has been a bus driver with the district for 13 years and will retire in January. District transportation chief Sherrill Phillips said he will be missed.

The board will meet again in January when the annual school budget talks start. District Superintendent James Dexter said that he and Business Administrator Greg Giammarco are already planning for anticipated state aids cuts. Mr. Dexter said he knows there will be cuts but how much “is the million dollar question.”

The next school board meeting is Tuesday, January 5, at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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