ICC board picks new president, approves retiree exodus

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane school board approved 13 retirements this week night, and Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said that a few more would be coming at next month’s meeting. Many of the retirements were part of the state retirement incentives plan intended to save school districts money.

The board also appointed Andrew Kramarchyk president at the July 6 organizational meeting. He replaces John Phillips, who will now serve as vice president of the board.

Tuesday’s session  was the first meeting run by Mr. Bordick, who was appointed interim superintendent on July 1. He is replacing James Dexter, who left the district at the end of June to become a superintendent in the BOCES/Questar III system. Mr. Bordick will serve for the school year as the district looks for a new superintendent.

Mr. Bordick started the meeting with a moment of silence for a high school student Brian Webster, who died Monday in a drowning accident at Queechy Lake in Canaan. Mr. Bordick said the schools will be open with councilors on duty to talk to students Wednesday July 7 through Friday, July 9. Mr. Kramarchyk said the board knew Brian, who was 17, was a “a good student and had a lot of friends in the district.”

The board decided to restructure some parts of the board meetings in an attempt to keep them from lasting three hours or more. Also, many board members now receive their board notes electronically. Four board members at the meeting were looking at agenda items on their laptops, but other board members are still receiving notes on paper as well as electronically.  When asked about it at the meeting, board member Bruce Naramore said he was ready to “cut the cord” and go all electronic, as were others. Only two board members will still receive materials on paper.

The board made the decision to go paperless for meetings last year and has been slowly making the transition to save paper and the costs associated with distributing the information on paper.

The retirements the board approved will mean the district is losing teachers, mechanics, secretaries and the transportation supervisor. Mr. Phillips said talked about the challenges the district will face with so many “good people in several different departments leaving at the same time.”

Board member Edward Harsen worried about what he called the “brain drain” of this loss of staff due to state retirement incentives. He said the board knows “the value of what is walking out the door here, and I think the people of New York need to know that.”

The district has already eliminated the position of assistant superintendent with the retirement last week of Maureen Van Deusen. The decision not to fill her job will save the district money.

Mr. Bordick said that the district will indeed be impacted by all these retirements, but many of the people on the list will be back to help with the transition in part-time positions.

The retirements announced at last night’s meeting were: Paul Sokol, bus mechanic; Robert Thorsey, head building mechanic; Elaine Kline, teacher; Sherrill Phillips, transportation supervisor; Terrance Phillips, head mechanic; Noreen Bayduss, secretary to the superintendent; Stephanie Gardinier, secretary to the assistant superintendent; Douglas Groat, teacher; Joan Murphy, teacher; Judith Powell, cleaner; Diane Jacobs, clerk typist; Patricia McCauley, clerk typist; William Hempler; head custodian.

The next regular board meeting is Tuesday, August 3, at 7 p.m. in the middle school library. The district will have a special meeting August 17 to set the tax levy. That meeting will also be at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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