Another Hudson school board president leaves

HUDSON–Peter Rice, president of the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education, has submitted his resignation. He is the third board president to leave in the last two-and-a-half years.

District Superintendent Maria Suttmeier announced his resignation at the board meeting Monday, June 22.

Superintendent Suttmeier said Mr. Rice wrote a “very nice” letter informing her that he was resigning for personal reasons. In it, he thanked her and the board for the time he had served on it.

But Ms. Suttmeier noted that only the Board of Education can accept a member’s resignation, and a member who wishes to resign must address his or her resignation to the board. Ms. Suttmeier said she has told Mr. Rice this and asked him to submit his letter of resignation to the Board. So as of June 22, the board was awaiting word from Mr. Rice, who remained, at least officially, the board president. He was absent from the June 22 meeting.

Mr. Rice has been on the School Board six years, according to Ms. Suttmeier. He became president in September 2014, following the resignation of his predecessor, Kelly Frank.

Mr. Rice’s resignation, assuming it is resubmitted and accepted, will make him the third board presidential resignation since April 2013, when then-president Peter Merante left the volunteer. His successor, Kelly Frank, served 15 months until September 2014, when she left the area for a job in Texas. As of July of this year, Mr. Rice’s presidency will have lasted almost 10 months.

Also at this week’s meeting, Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino profiled the third through eighth graders who refused to take the state standardized tests. Corresponding characteristics of third through eighth graders who did take the test were not available.

The district’s test data look at the 2014-15 school year that is about to end. The data show that 70% of students in the third through eighth grades who did not take the standard English Language Arts (ELA) tests were white. About 49% of the students who “opted out” of the tests were classified as “economically disadvantaged.”

Current data about the overall makeup of the HCSD student body were not presented, and data from previous years could be misleading. But available figures for the 2013-14 school year show that 48% of the district’s total student body (k-12) were white; 62% qualified for lunch subsidies.

Characteristics of the 211 students who refused to take the standardized math test were more muddied because the numbers included not only those 211 but also 28 students excused from the math test because they took state Regents exams in math. Of the 28 students taking the Regents tests, 27 passed.

In other business at the June 22 meeting:

  • During the Public Forum section of the meeting, Jennifer Beltman told about helping a neighbor’s child prepare for a Global Studies test. Ms. Beltman said she found both the sample tests and the teacher’s Power Point presentations full of “grammatical errors” and not conducive to student learning.

Ms. Beltman, who said she has taught at two universities, told the board, “If I had done so poorly, I’d have been fired.”

Board members asked her up to their table to give more details to them privately

  • The June 22 meeting was the last of the 2014-15 school year, and the board recognized Atia Begh, student representative to the Board for the year. “You’ve been so wonderful to work with,” board Vice President Tiffany Hamilton told her. Atia, a senior about to graduate, plans to attend Clark University in Massachusetts
  • Ms. Suttmeier announced that the district is applying for the Carol White grant for physical education needs. A top priority is building a high school track. Although Hudson High School has track stars, they have to use the intermediate school track for practice and cannot have home meets.

The next Board meeting is Thursday, July 2, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hudson High School library. This is at a different day and time than most meetings. It will be the first meeting of the new term and will include organizational decisions.

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