KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane School District Superintendent George Zini updated the board this week on plans for the $7 million capital improvement project voters approved in December. He said the district is moving forward with “phase one” of the plan, which includes upgrades to technology in the district and smaller projects, like repaving the track and partial roof replacement at the high school, which should take place this spring and summer.
At the regular board meeting Tuesday, February 5 Mr. Zini said the district recently purchased 10 iPads for administrators and is considering whether to buy more of the devices for teachers using capital improvement funds. He also addressed the topic of Smart Boards, an interactive touch screen whiteboard that some teachers in the district have been using in classes, saying that though buying more of the boards is part of the capital project proposal, the board may want to purchase digital projectors for the high school instead.
He told the board he has been discussing what technology the district should purchase with Informational Technology Coordinator Juan González. “I really don’t think we can purchase iPads for students in this capital project,” he told the board, but he said “that’s something down the road to consider.”
He said that upgrading the 11-year-old servers as part of this capital project should make the district’s digital infrastructure robust enough to handle the added wireless technology, like iPads, for high school students in the future. Servers are computers that act as hubs for digital networks.
“Phase two” of the capital project is still being the designed. It includes major upgrades to the high school gym and the library. Mr. Zini said that the school’s gym teacher and librarian have been meeting with the architect.
Right now the board is preparing a proposed 2013-14 school year budget. Several board members attended a meeting last week at Columbia High School in East Greenbush about the future of state aid and its effects on local schools.
Board member Bruce Naramore, who was one of the 33 people from the district at the January 31 meeting, said of the session, “It was a sobering message,” a reference to the speakers who talked about slight increases in state ad that will not fill the gap needed to cover unfunded mandates from the state, and funding not being evenly shared between upstate and downstate schools.
Mr. Zini was more upbeat about the upcoming budget plan for the Ichabod Crane District. “It’s not bleak,” he said. The superintendent said that the district has planned budgets well over the last few years. The board is hosting a budget forum Tuesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
The board also tabled a discussion about Nature’s Classroom, a 5th grade trip paid for and run by parents of students in the class. Board member Jeffrey Ouellette said he had some concerns about approving the trip under board policy, which states there must be district employees as chaperones.
Mr. Zini said he would seek legal counsel on whether or not the board should sanction the trip. He said he was not against having the program, but told the board, “I caution putting your stamp on it.” He also said, “People need to know it’s not a school sponsored trip.” After talking to the district lawyer, the board will decide how to move forward with the trip.
The next regular board meeting is Tuesday, March 3 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .