Hudson schools business manager moves on

HUDSON–Robert Yusko is resigning as business executive of the Hudson City School District (HCSD) effective September 28, after almost three years in the position. He is taking a similar position with the school district in Glens Falls.

In the Hudson District, “the administration is wonderful. The staff, from teacher to custodian, is top notch. The community should be proud that they have such people,” Mr. Yusko said in a telephone interview September 17.

“I had envisioned staying in Hudson for the rest of my working career. But the Glens Falls District reached out to me,” he explained. He met the Glens Falls administration, they made him an offer, and the Hudson District made a counter offer to retain him. But the Glens Falls offer was still “too good to refuse,” said Mr. Yusko, adding, “It was a hard decision.”

He attended the Hudson schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade, graduating in 2004. He was treasurer for the Cairo-Durham Central School District, when Hudson’s long-term business executive, Dan Barret, died suddenly, on January 1, 2012. Mr. Yusko said he was “encouraged to reach out and apply” to succeed Mr. Barret. He became the HCSD’s new business executive in October 2012.

“It was good to return to” what had been his home for so long, he said.

Mr. Yusko had known Mr. Barret and, upon succeeding him, kept his legacy in mind, calling him “a great man,” and saying, “I wanted to live up to his standard.”

Looking back over the past three years, Mr. Yusko said his best experiences were dealing with staff members and the board. The worst part of the job was “having to discipline people, including people he knew “outside of work.”

He said adding to the balance fund, the unrestricted part of the school budget for use in emergencies and other unforeseen situations, as one of his top achievements. “When I came,” he said, “we had only a very small fund balance.” But even with stagnant state aid and a tax cap the emergency fund has grown, he said. “Now we have an operating surplus.”

“We obviously have some academic issues,” Mr. Yusko continued. “But we need the funds to get the resources to improve them.”

While it looks for Mr. Yusko’s permanent successor, the Board of Education has appointed John E. McKinney as interim business administrator at $500/day. Mr. McKinney also was Interim business administrator in the months between Mr. Barret’s death and Mr. Yusko’s appointment, Mr. Yusko said.

When asked if he had advice for his successor, Mr. Yusko relied with a list: “Continue to budget conservatively. Be responsible to the taxpayers. Be mindful of the tax levy and restrictions on it. Be firm but fair while managing people. And have a long-term vision for sustainability.”

 

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