At ICC, cloudy budget outlook leaves football future in limbo

KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane school board President Anthony Welcome told the audience at this week’s meeting that the deadline for applications for superintendent had passed and that Quester III, which is conducting the search for the district, received 33 applications.

Also at the Tuesday, August 7 meeting the board heard from two sports groups raising money to support their programs. The board discussed whether or not those sports–the modified program, which all sport at the middle school, and varsity football–would be added to the 2013-14 budget.

 

The middle school modified sports program was cut last May from the current school year budget. Parents came to a meeting last month asking whether they could raise funds to keep the program. The group has raised over $8,000 in a month and will have enough money to make the fall payment to support the program by the August 25 deadline set by the board.

Tim Ragosta, the head of the modified sports committee raising the funds, thanked the local businesses and individuals who helped. “I don’t have a day go by that someone doesn’t say they didn’t know the program was cut from the budget,” he told the board. He said he expects when parents and students come back to school in the fall and learn of the cut, they will make a donation.

Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said that he met with the modified sports committee, the booster club and football committee, which has been funding a high school football program for six years, to talk about fundraising and the future of the sports.

He said the groups had a productive conversation, but they want to know whether their programs will be included in the budget for the next school year, which the board will craft this winter and spring. Board Vice President Regina Rose said that it was too soon to know what state aid and revenues would look like for the 2013-14 school year. “How can we commit to one thing in the budget?” she said.

Board member Cheryl Trefzger said she would like to hear from Athletic Director Paul Thompson about funding for the programs. She said that fund raising for an entire sport, like football, was unsustainable and she wanted to know from Mr. Thompson if it is likely the sport will be added to the budget in the future.

“There is no crystal ball here on this table, we don’t know what the money is going to look like,” said Mr. Welcome of next year’s budget. He and board member Bruce Naramore both said they felt there was no way to give the groups any answers this fall about whether or not their programs will be funded in coming years.

Trisha Gerkman, the president of the football committee, said that her group was talking to Mr. Thompson about ways to fit football into the sports budget, but she wanted to know whether the board would support including the program if some cuts in program costs were made. She added that the committee is not planning to raise money for football next year.

One change the Athletic Department is considering, said Mr. Bordick, is a return to the Patroon Conference for financial reasons and because the move would restore games against traditional rivals. The school left the Patroon Conference a several years ago to join the Colonial Conference.

As for the search for a new superintendent, the applicants will be vetted by Questar and then reviewed by the board before a committee of community members and teachers interviews the final set of candidates.

The board hopes to have a new superintendent in place by November 30.

The next board meeting is a special meeting on Tuesday August 21 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library. The next regular meeting will be Tuesday September 4 at 7 p.m. also in the middle school library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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