KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod School board approved a tentative $4 million BOCES/Questar III budget for the 2013-14 school year at a special meeting Tuesday, April 23. The board also voted to elect Edmund Brooks, a Valatie resident, to the Questar board.
The board discussed the hiring a communications specialist through Questar for $36,000 a year. The position is included in the 2013-14 proposed school budget, and Superintendent George Zini stressed that because the service comes through Questar the district will receive aid to cover 46% of the fee, or about $16,500. He also said that it was a one year contract that can be cut in the 2014-15 budget if needed.
Mr. Zini said the position was important for getting information out the public through press releases, a school newsletter and the website. Other school districts, like Chatham, use the service already, and Ichabod Crane used Questar for getting information out about the merger study they conducted with Schodack Central School District last year.
“I felt that [for that] amount of money, in these times, we should discuss it,” said board Vice President Regina Rose.
Mr. Zini also said that the district hopes to redesign its website using Questar services for $10,600. The money for the new website would come from this year’s technology budget. “This is an opportunity to refresh it,” he said of the website, ichabodcrane.org. He said that it was a five-month project that will involve the board’s communication committee.
Also at the meeting, board President Anthony Welcome talked about having a student be a non-voting member of the school board. Most board members expressed support for the idea, though it would not happen until 2014-15 since it must be approved by district residents at the annual budget vote and there was not time to get it on the May ballot.
The board discussed the upcoming budget hearing May 14 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The board as already approved a proposed $34.9 million budget that will be voted on by residents at the May 21 annual vote.
There will be a Meet the Candidates presentation at the May 14 meeting as well. Mr. Welcome and Ms. Rose are running for reelection this May. Tricia Gerkman and Kyle Aschenbrenner also handed in petitions to run for the board. Current board member John Antalek is not running for his seat. The three open seats on the on the board are all three year terms.
Mr. Welcome said he would not be at the May 14 meeting, but said, “If anybody doesn’t know me, you can call me, I’m in the book.”
The next regular meeting is Tuesday, May 7 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .