School board ponders fate of empty schools

KINDERHOOK — The Ichabod Crane School Board discussed what to do about a vacancy on the board at their regular meeting this week.

The board also approved using $3,250 from the district’s reserves to improve the public announcement system in the middle school at the Tuesday, June 7 session. Some classrooms in the building had been used as storage spaces and are now needed for students, because the district is closing two school buildings moving more classes to the middle and primary schools.

Elementary School Principal John Stickles is retiring. The board approved his retirement at the meeting. The third grade is moving to the primary school and fourth and fifth grades will move to the middle school building. The district planned to keep Mr. Stickles on as elementary school principal and cut the administrator with the least seniority, High School Assistant Principal Daniel Farley. But with Mr. Stickles retiring, Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said that the administration will stay as it is currently, with no elementary school principal.

The board plans to meet with a commercial real estate consultant to help with plans for closing the two elementary school buildings. Board member John Antalek said he reached out to the Tim Conley at Conley Associates to possibly work with the district on what to do with the Martin Van Buran building in Kinderhook and Martin H. Glynn building Valatie.

“There is a little more there than we thought,” Mr. Antelek said about moving forward with renting the buildings. He said district officials wanted a company like Mr. Conley’s to advise them before the board meets again with the town or village about using the building in Valatie. The district administration and board has had informal talks with the municipalities for many months about moving village offices to the Martin H. Glynn School.

Members of the public at the meeting worried that if the board waited to decide what to do with the building that might cause problems for the deal with the town. “You may lose out as the town goes through their budget process,” said audience member Jeff Ouellette.

The board also went back and forth about finding a board member to fill Ed Harsen’s seat. The resignation was announced at the meeting; Mr. Harsen’s term is up in June of 2012. The board can appoint a new member, hold a special election or leave the seat open until the next election.

“We keep appointing people and this is supposed to be an elected body,” said board member Regina Rose. Many other board members agreed that holding a special election would make the most sense after the public involvement at the last election.

But board member Bruce Naramore and Mr. Antelak worried about an election being a distraction for the board. “We can move forward with eight,” said Mr. Antelak, referring to the number of board members left.

The board will make a final decision about how to fill the seat at a special meeting June 21. Members will also hear a presentation by the booster club efforts to raise money to support the football program for next year.

That special board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday June 21 in the Middle School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .   

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