KINDERHOOK–The application the Ichabod Crane and Schodack school districts sent to the state requesting money to study areas where the two districts can share services “died at the state Education Department,” ICC Superintendent James Dexter said at this week’s school board meeting.
The districts had applied for funds to conduct a “functional consolidation study” this fall. The plan goal was not to merge the districts but to look into ways they could keep their individual identities while saving money by sharing services. The study would have cost both districts about $9,000 over two year but also came with grant funds from the state.
“I don’t understand why,” said Mr. Dexter of the state’s decision not to fund the grant proposal, “but I’m trying to find out.” He said Questar III/BOCES Superintendent James Baldwin is also looking into answers for the district.
Mr. Dexter said the district is still meeting with Schodack and other school districts about shared services. “Grant or no grant, we’re going to have to plan with our neighbors,” he said.
The Tuesday, February 2, meeting was the one regular board meeting of the month. The next two meetings, February 9 and 23, will be special budget sessions. And though the budget was not on the agenda Tuesday, the topic did creep into conversation throughout the evening. The district is anticipating cuts in state aid next year and the end of federal economic stimulus money.
Mr. Dexter said the district currently has about a $38-million annual budget, but he expects that the level of spending will drop in the new budget that takes effect in June. Though district officials have made no official decisions yet, he said if they were looking at a 2.5% increase in the tax levy, the budget would be in the $32-million range. The superintendent said that the district is trying to determine what effect the cutbacks might have on the district’s overall education program.
During the board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Maureen Van Deusen discussed the district’s state report card for the 2008-09 school year. The report, which looks at test scores in the schools, compares the district to statewide performance levels. The information is online at www.ichabodcrane.org.
Ms. Van Deusen, Middle School Assistant Principal Shannon Shine and teacher assistant Christine Schertel all received tenure from the board at the meeting.
Primary School Principal Melissa Murray announced that kindergarten screening letters were going out to homes in the district. She said through her conversations with nursery schools and daycare facilities in the area, the district has identified 119 students for kindergarten next year. The district will hold an information meeting in early March for potential students and their families; the screening for new students will take place March 16 to 25.
At its February 23 budget planning session, the board will discuss the demographic study that was completed in the fall by Dr. Paul Seversky. Projections show enrollment countywide is decreasing, though Ichabod Crane’s numbers are not dropping as sharply as those in some other districts.
At the budget meeting February 9 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library, the board will discuss the transportation, food services, facilities, technology and special education budgets. The next regular board meeting is March 3.
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