Paperwork diverts attention of ICC administrators

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education swore in two new members at this week’s meeting. The board also discussed the “climate” at the Elementary and Middle School, the district’s annual audit and money for technology.

The board also appointed Barbara-anne Johnson-Heimroth and Michael Stead to the school board at the October 6 meeting. Ms. Johnson-Heimroth and Mr. Stead are replacing two board members who moved out of the district before their terms are scheduled to expire in June 2016.

Elementary and Middle school Principal Tim Farley addressed the climate survey filled out by students, staff and parents in the building last June. Students in 4th through 8th grades attend classes at the Middle School building and Mr. Farley and Assistant Principal Anthony Marturano are the administrators for all four grades.

Mr. Farley said that the survey showed “very positive results” overall. One issue the teachers pointed out was the visibility of the administrators. Mr. Farley said that since the introduction of the APPR, the state mandated performance review for teachers, “It feels like we’re doing an enormous amount of paperwork.” Which, he said, means he and Mr. Marturano are in their office more and not as available to meet with teachers and students.

Mr. Farley said that the though the information being collected is important, the amount of paperwork is an issue. “Others refer to it as soul crushing,” he said. But he added that the administration is making an effort to be more visible.

The board also heard from Jill Thaisz, of West & Company, about the firm’s annual audit of district finances. The district received a “clean opinion,” which means there were no problems revealed by the audit.

Schools Superintendent George Zini reported that the district is putting together a technology plan for the Smart School funds. In 2014, voters statewide passed the Smart Schools Bond Act which, according to the state Education Department, “will build out schools and classrooms for the 21st century to ensure that our students graduate with the skills they need to thrive in the economy of today and tomorrow.”

Mr. Zini said that Ichabod will receive about $1.3 million of that funding, but the district must submit a plan to the state and the district also must budget and spend the funds to then be reimbursed by the state.

Mr. Zini stressed that the technology plan submitted to the state will be available for review by the community and that the board must hold a public hearing before it is finalized. He said the hearing should be sometime this spring.

Part of the plan will include increasing the bandwidth of Internet service in the district. He also said he hopes to have iPads for high school students next year.

The next board meeting is November 3 at 7 p.m. in the high school library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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