KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane Board of Education approved a letter that will go to state legislators entitled “New York State’s Regulatory and Funding Framework for Public Education Is Unsustainable,” although they did require delete one sentence before voting in favor of the letter.
Board President John Phillips also announced at the Tuesday, April 27, meeting that there are three open seats on the on the board and the district has received three petitions from candidates; all three are from incumbent board members. With the deadline for filing petitions having expired Regina Rose, Anthony Welcome and John Antalek will run unopposed on the ballot for the annual election and budget vote May 18.
Information about the candidates is on the district website, www.ichabodcrane.org.
The letter to legislators was written by George Warner, a member of the Schodack school board, and brought the attention of this board by Ms. Rose. She and Mr. Warner, along with board members from Chatham and Hudson school districts, are part of the Columbia County School Board Association Legislative Committee. Ms. Rose said that other members of that committee worked on the letter with Mr. Warner.
The committee members met with their state senators and assemblymen over the winter to discuss the issues facing school boards in the area. Ms. Rose said she assumes Mr. Warner’s plan is to send this letter to all legislators. The Schodack school board has already endorsed the letter.
The letter list several issues with the funding of education and state regulations. “Discussion on property taxes must focus on resolving the fiscal burden that unfunded mandates, obsolete and ineffective educational laws and regulations impose upon the homeowner,” the letter says.
Though there was general support for the letter from board members, there was some concern about a part of the text in bold letters saying “school district consolidation is not the answer.” Mr. Antalek pointed out the district is currently trying to secure a grant to fund a functional consolidation study with Schodack.
“I think you are tying one hand,” said board Vice President Andrew Kramarchyk of cutting out consolidation as a solution to district financial issues. But Mr. Welcome said he thought the meaning consolidation in the letter referred to combining districts.
Ms. Rose proposed a motion to have that part of the letter taken out. The board approved the letter but without the statement about consolidation.
The board also approved the tentative administrative budget for QUESTAR III, the regional BOCES in the amount $3.9 for the 2010-11 school year. The board has already adopted a proposed $37.7 school district budget for the next year school year. Voters in the Ichabod Crane Central School District will determine the fate of that proposal May 18.
The next board meeting is May 4 at 7pm in the middle school library.