KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane school board decided this week to move ahead with a strategic planning process and said the board will meet with representatives from Questar III BOCES about the project and the effort to form a community group that would create a long-term plan for the district.
At the March 5 meeting the board also touched on a few budget issues but agreed to save that discussion until the special meeting March 12. Superintendent George Zini said that the district would have budget numbers for the public at that meeting next Tuesday.
Two people at the meeting asked whether the privately funded football program will be in the budget, but Mr. Zini said that those extracurricular activities would be discussed at the budget meeting next week.
Board members also talked about spring student photos that were taken last week at the schools. Board member Susan Ramos said that parents and teachers had asked her about the Lifetouch pictures that were scheduled because they were told the board had discontinued the contract for two sets of photographs.
The board did decide to only have one set of photos taken of students in the fall and not have the spring pictures, which are not used in the yearbook or for student identification cards. The spring pictures are solely marketed to students’ families. The board agreed, looking at its policies, that the spring photos are just a commercial venture, which is not allowed in the district. But board members reached that conclusion only after they had already signed the contract with Lifetouch for this year. They amended the contracts for the coming year, restricting the authorized photography to the sessions in the fall.
The other controversial issue that the board approved at the meeting was the Nature’s Classroom trip. The board had discussed continuing the trip, which is run and paid for by parents during the spring break, trying to determine whether it should be a school activity.
Mr. Zini said he wanted to move forward with the trip as it is now, telling the board, “You are liable no matter what.” For the trip, 5th graders take school buses and the district collects the parents’ money and pays Nature’s Classroom. The board asked district employee Todd DiGrigoli, who is going as a parent chaperone, to also go as a representative from the district.
Mr. Zini said that for next year school officials will talk to the PTA and the district lawyer about how the trip should be arranged.
The board also approved the retirements of several teachers and one teaching assistant. Sherry Plain, Sally Bertram, Wendy Rogers and Joanne Skpowski will all retire this June.
The next board meeting is the special budget meeting on March 12 at 7 p.m. in the middle school cafeteria.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .