ICC finds ways to restore pre-school program

KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane School District will have a pre-school program starting next week in the high school. Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick told the school board at a workshop meeting Tuesday, September 20 that administrators found the space for the BOCES/Questar III program and still have grant money to pay for it.

At the meeting, held at a new earlier time of 6 p.m., board members also discussed goals they had developed at a retreat earlier this year. One of the big issues on the list is finding a new superintendent. Mr. Bordick served as interim schools chief last year and will cover the post for the rest of this year as the school studies whether to merge with the Schodack Center School District.

Board members worried that potential candidates might be reluctant to seek a position that might be affected or eliminated if the districts decide to merge.

The committee looking into a merger or a consolidation of services between the two districts will report to the board in November. But even if both school boards agree that merging the districts makes sense, there final decision will be determined by district voters. A full merger could not take place for at least another school year, and the committee might recommend not to merge but instead to share some services.

“I think it’s very important that Ichabod have someone at the helm,” said High School Principal William Schneider at the meeting. He said the board needed to find someone to lead even if the board eventually plans to consolidate services. He praised Mr. Bordick but assumed the interim superintendent would not be back for the third year.

The board plans to wait to hear committee’s report about the results of the merger study and then begin advertising for a new superintendent, probably this winter.

After closing the districts two free-standing elementary schools and then finding that it had a larger student population than anticipated in the primary school, the district determined it had no room for the pre-school program run by Questar III for students needing early intervention. But Mr. Bordick said this week that the district has now found a classroom in the high school and the program will start next week with some help from high schoolers interested in early childhood education. The program will have a teacher from Questar as well as intervention services for special needs students.

The program costs the district about $41,000 a year, though some of the costs are offset by rent Questar III pays for the space. Mr. Bordick said the money for the program comes from a Questar III/BOCES budget line the district was not using. Questar III also receives grant funds and state aid for the program.

Mr. Bordick thanked Mr. Schneider and Director of Special Education Robert McCloskey for getting the program together so quickly. Mr. McCloskey reached out the families who thought the program had been cancelled. He told the board county taxpayers were saving $70,000 a child not having to transport students with special needs out of the county for services. School districts are responsible for students with special needs from pre-school on.

The program will have 30 kids, not all with special needs. There is an application process, which Mr. Bordick said does have an income component as well. “Students’ families not meeting specific income thresholds are given first priority,” he said in an email after the meeting.

Mr. McCloskey and Primary School Principal Melissa Murray emphasized that the program was a “targeted” pre-school effort, not a universal program. The program is free to the participating families.

The board will hold its next regular meeting Tuesday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library. The next workshop meeting will be Tuesday October 18 at 6 p.m., also in the Middle School.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .   

Comments are closed.