KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane School Board met to approve the BOCES/Questar III budget and elect members to the Questar board at a special meeting this week.
The board also discussed the modified sports program, which is slated to be cut in the 2012-13 school budget proposal. The proposed $33.9 million budget that the board will present to voters May 15 removes $40,000 from the modified sports program, but Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said he hopes the district will create a robust intramural sports program.
Mr. Bordick told the board at the April 24 meeting that he met with superintendents from the Schodack and Averill Park school districts recently to talk about the middle school sports program. Both of those districts have cut or are planning to cut their modified programs.
Mr. Bordick said the goal with the modified program was to increase participation in sports, and the district hopes to continue to pursue that goal. Board member Bruce Naramore mentioned that CYO, a community sports program that already uses the school gyms, might take over for the modified program.
“We are going to have many variations on a theme,” Mr. Bordick said of next year’s program.
He told the board that by the summer the administration will have an overview of the intramural program from the athletic director.
This week Mr. Bordick also discussed the fate of the merger study the district is conducting with Schodack. The two districts received a grant to hire consultants to see what a merged school district would look like. Both districts formed committees of community members that have worked with the consultants since late last summer to collect and review data.
The committees will present the final report to be submitted to the state Education Department (SED) at meeting May 2 in Schodack. Then each district will hold a community forum to report the findings after the report is reviewed by SED.
The Ichabod Crane District community forum on the report will be May 22 in the High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. There will be a presentation in Schodack on May 21.
“They will have recommendations of areas of collaboration,” said Mr. Bordick of the committee. A full merger does not seem likely at this point, but no decisions will be made until the board has reviewed the report. A merger would require the approval of both boards and the adoption of referendums supporting the change by voters in both districts.
The ICC board has been waiting to start its search for a new superintendent until the committee finished its work, and board Vice President Regina Rose said this week that the search process will resume once the issue of merger issue is decided in late May.
Ms. Rose discussed the Tech Valley STEM Smart Alliance Lunch she recently attended. STEM stands from Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and several superintendents from area BOCES attended the meeting to discuss the future of teaching these skills and the ability of students to find jobs in science and technology industries. “It was very hopeful, very positive,” said Ms. Rose, who noted that there are more jobs than qualified applicants in the technology field.
The board approved the $4-million tentative budget for the BOCES/Questar III Administrative Budget. That covers all the schools in the three-county region served by BOCES/Questar III. Ichabod Crane’s share of that is about $290,000, said board member Thomas Neufeld.
Christopher Foster of Averill Park, Paul Puccio of Schodack and Edna Knabble of Ghent were all approved as members of the Questar board by the ICC board. All the schools in Columbia County are served by Questar III as are some of the schools in Rensselaer and Greene counties.
The annual budget hearing will be Tuesday May 8 at 7 p.m. and there will be a “Meet the Candidates” forum after the meeting at 7:30 p.m.