Hudson opts for fewer polls, better pay for subs

HUDSON–The Board of Education voted at its Monday, March 14 meeting to consolidate voting districts for school elections and to raise the pay for substitute teachers.

The board’s decision on elections leaves Hudson City School District (HCSD) residents with three places to vote in school elections: Claverack, Greenport and Hudson. Before the decision, there were five election districts, the three mentioned above plus sites in Livingston and Stockport. With the new arrangement, for school elections, people living in Livingston and Taghkanic who live in the HCSD will vote in Claverack, and those living in Stockport and the portions of Ghent that are part of the school district will vote in Greenport. The motivation for this consolidation is to reduce the cost of acquiring and operating new electronic voting machines.

Also at the meeting, the board decided to raise the pay of substitutes effective March 15. Retired teachers will receive $110 a day, other certified teachers $105 a day, uncertified teachers $90 a day, and teachers’ aides $11 an hour, for substitute instruction. With the new pay scale, the HCSD hopes to attract people who were choosing to substitute in other, nearby school districts that offered higher pay.

In other business at the March 14 meeting:

•Business Administrator Sharifa Carbon urged people concerned with the ongoing effects of the computer phishing assault should contact her, saying that she would rather they get information from her and not from rumors. Phishing is when criminals use false websites or email addresses disguised as legitimate addresses in order to steal information from users that can then be exploited. Employees at HCSD as well as at other school districts recently were the targets of one such scam. Some of the employees have attempted to file their income taxes only to be told that their tax returns have already been filed. Presumably any tax refunds will then have gone to the criminals.

The police and FBI have been alerted. Superintendent Maria Suttmeier said district employees and their families may fill out affidavits for the IRS, explaining their circumstances

•Dr. Suttmeier praised the Hudson High School boys varsity basketball team for making the state championship Final Four. The Bluehawks went undefeated this season until the semi-finals, Friday, March 11 in Glens Falls. The team’s point guard, Michael Alert, was selected for the All Star team, Dr. Suttmeier said. In addition to excelling at basketball, Mr. Alert is on the high honor roll and plays the drums.

“Our Bluehawks have made history,” Dr. Suttmeier continued. “The outpouring of Bluehawk spirit has been something I’ve never seen before. The team did for this district what we’ve been trying to do for a whole year. Get ready for next year!”

“It’s incredible the donations we have for transportation and food,” added Board President Maria McLaughlin.

“Even though the basketball season is over, people are still donating,” said Superintendent Suttmeier. “It’s been wonderful, just wonderful. Hudson’s a great place to live and work”

•Dr. Suttmeier praised Kim Lybolt, Director of Student Services, for bringing so many special education students back into district buildings rather than sending them for education elsewhere, at great cost to the district. Ms. Lybolt made a presentation at the beginning of the meeting at which she explained that now, exceptional cases are sent out of the district.

She also said that a main criterion in deciding whether a child can take a regular class rather than a special education class is whether the child can do so without disrupting the education of the child’s classmates.

The 6th grade is moving to the Junior High building in September and the Junior High will get an additional special education classroom.

The next HCSD Board of Education public meeting will be Monday, March 28 at the Hudson High School library. It will start with a budget workshop at 6:30 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

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