Job has long hours, no pay and lots of applicants

KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane school board interviewed three candidates for the open board seat at this week’s meeting. The board also discussed the agenda for its upcoming Community Forum. The district is planning two forums, one this Thursday, October 7 and one on Thursday, October 28 to discuss issues the school district is facing with lower anticipated enrollment and more difficult economic times.

Board President Andrew Kramarchyk told the board at the October 5 meeting that there were nine applicants for the board seat vacated by Gary Bagnato last month. Mr. Bagnato left the board with one year left on his three-year term in hopes that a community member interested in being part of the search for the new superintendent would take his place.

 

“It is an embarrassment of riches,” said Mr. Kramarchyk of the applicants for the position. Of the nine applicants, the board is interviewing eight (one had to withdraw). The board members are splitting the interviews between two meetings. The rest of the interviews will be at the October 19 regular board meeting. After that meeting the board will decide who will fill the seat.

Susan Ramos, Landra Haber and Michelle Warner were interviewed during Tuesday night’s meeting. Ms. Haber sat on the board for 13 years and left in 2009 after her term was over. She said hearing Mr. Bagnato was leaving she realized that the board was losing its longest serving member, and she was offering to come back as someone with an “institutional memory” and experience.

Ms. Ramos and Ms. Warner both have young children in the district. Ms. Warner told the board members that having kids in the school meant that she was seeing how their policies were effecting the schools. Ms. Ramos talked about creating budgets for several non-profits she has worked for in her professional career.

The board will appoint one of the eight candidates to serve a one-year term. In May voters will have the chance to choose candidates for the seat, as well as the seats held by Mr. Kramarchyk’s and board Vice President John Phillips.

The person the board appoints to the seat will be part of the hiring process for the new school superintendent. Questar III/BOCES is helping the district with its search and is printing a brochure for prospective applicants. The board discussed the salary range of $145,000 to $165,000 to be listed in the brochure. Board member John Antelak said that the district’s previous superintendent would have made $168,000 in the 2011-2012 school year had the superintendent stayed. He thought the high range was reasonable for the district, though board member Regina Rose worried about offering that much and watching the salary go up over the years as the district faces more hard financial times.

Ms. Rose’s concerns were acknowledged, but the board approved the printing of the brochure with the suggested range.

The board planned to discuss in more detail demographics, curriculum, budget and facilities at the Community Forum that was scheduled for Thursday October 7 at 7pm in the Middle School LGI room. The meetings will be moderated by David Colby, President of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. The forum agenda also leaves time for an open discussion, said Mr. Phillips.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, October 19 at 7p.m. in the middle school library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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