School’s not so cool for those close to noisy AC

HUDSON–Noise from school air-conditioning disturbs nearby residents, according to a statement presented to the Hudson City School District Board of Education at the board’s meeting Monday, August 24.

At the same meeting district officials announced that student test results have improved in some areas, especially writing.

In the public forum session, Carol West spoke about people who live on Cedar Parkway, Gifford Parkway, and Riverview Boulevard and are annoyed by the sound of air-conditioning from the Hudson Junior/Senior High School. “You can stand in front of the school and not hear it,” she said. “But it carries across the hillside,” bothering people trying to enjoy their yards. She distributed to board members a statement, signed by 17 households, that the air-conditioning noise adversely affects “the quality of life in our neighborhood.”

This is not the first time neighbors have called this situation to the attention of the school board; last year they met with Buildings and Grounds Superintendent George Keeler.

In summer, the air-conditioning is loud all day on weekdays until about 8 p.m., Ms. West said. It became worse when the Junior High was equipped with air-conditioning.

Board Vice President David Kisselburgh suggested discussing the matter at the upcoming Facilities Committee meeting that was scheduled for August 26. District Business Executive Robert Yusko suggested that possibly the capital improvement project now being designed could address the problem.

On another topic District Superintendent Maria Suttmeier announced that from 2013-14 to 2014-15, for 3rd through 8th grade, standardized test results have shown an increase in the proportion of students at levels 3 (described as meeting the proficiency standard) and 4 (exceeding the proficiency standard) by three percentage points for ELA (English/Language Arts) and 2½ percentage points for math. Coordinator of School Improvement April Prestipino announced that “the gap has been eliminated” between students from Hudson and those from nearby other districts in the written response section of the tests. “A major focus in the Intermediate School in the past two years has been to help students become better writers, “ Ms. Prestipino noted.

But Superintendent Suttmeier cautioned, “We have too many students at Level 1 [below standard]. We need to move. We’re looking at everything–including the sequence in which we teach topics.”

Also at the meeting:

  • The Board and Ms. Suttmeier welcomed new teachers who appeared at the meeting: Courtney Diefenbach, who will teach Special Education at John L. Edwards Primary School, and Jamie Rodriguez, who will teach Spanish at the High School. Ms. Diefenbach comes to the Hudson City School District from Coarc. Ms. Rodriguez comes from three years of teaching Spanish at a middle school in Poughkeepsie. “I have a passion for Spanish,” she said. “And I hope the students can learn from my passion”
  • Dolly Sacco, who also appeared at the meeting, received a Certificate of Appreciation for serving the district since 1968 as a teacher’s aide, a substitute teacher and a teacher (of French). She started working for the district at the Claverack School
  • Ms. Suttmeier read a letter from state Assembly member Didi Barrett (D-106) congratulating the high school track coach and his team for winning state championships
  • A few places remain open for the afternoon pre-kindergarten class. “Every year we have about 150 students for kindergarten,” Superintendent Suttmeier said. “Where are they the year before for pre-kindergarten?”
  • Mr. Yusko spoke of the capital improvement plan being prepared by the district. Some aspects of it will respond to state mandates, among them, replacing the bleachers at Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School. But the plan will also contain long-discussed projects, including a high school a track and soccer field. Currently several varieties of this project are under evaluation. Some include real grass, some artificial turf.

With artificial turf, “you save on maintenance costs,” said board member William Kappel.

But Mr. Yusko said that with real grass, the district would need to budget for turf replacement every five to ten years.

The next school board meeting will take place Monday, September 14, at 7 p.m. at the Hudson High School library.

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