Ichabod Crane District has jobs at the top to fill

KINDERHOOK–Ichabod Crane Board of Education Vice President John Chandler submitted a letter of resignation last week, effective immediately. The remaining board members decided at a meeting this week to appoint a new member to Mr. Chandler’s seat. His term is scheduled to expire in June 2017.

The board is asking district residents to submit letters of interest to the district clerk. The board will meet with candidates in September. The newly appointed board member will serve until the annual school board election and budget vote in May 2017 and would be able to seek election to a full term.

“Anybody can express an interest in the board,” Board President Anthony Welcome said at the August 16 meeting of people interested in applying for the open seat.

District Superintendent George Zini said that the board hopes to fill the seat early in the fall, “I’d say by October.”

The board appointed Cheryl Trefzger vice president.

The board also welcomed Alexis Hoffmann to the board as the student member. Alexis is a senior at Ichabod Crane and will be the third student to serve on the board as a non-voting member. “Alexis is coming highly recommended from her teachers,” High School Principal Craig Shull said.

In addition to these changes, the board is beginning the hunt for a new superintendent. Mr. Zini will not be returning after his contract is up in June 2017. The board discussed its options in the search for a new top administrator for the district, which are:

• Hire Questar III/BOCES to help with the search, which the district has done for the last few superintendent searches

• Hire an outside consultant

• Conduct a search themselves.

Mr. Welcome said he was opposed to the board conducting the search alone. Ms. Trefzger and board member Tracy Farrell suggested using Questar, since it would cost little or nothing for the services of BOCES.

Ms. Farrell, who is an assistant superintendent in the Poughkeepsie School District, said that an outside consultant could cost between $5,000 and $80,000. “The cost for an outside consultant can be expensive,” Ms. Farrell said.

Board member Jeffrey Ouellette said that he was told by the consultant working with the Chatham Central School Board on that district’s search that the cost would be $16,000. He said that using Questar in the past had led to at least one unsuccessful search.

Before Mr. Zini was hired three years ago, the district had an interim superintendent for two and half years when the board decided not to hire any of the candidates in the original search. Mr. Zini was hired to replace Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick after a second Questar superintendent search.

Board member John Antalek predicted that “the candidate pool will shrink” as other districts in the area start their searches for new superintendents. Besides Chatham, the neighboring Schodack Central School District will also be conducting a search for a superintendent due to the sudden death of Superintendent Bob Horan in July. The Schodack Board recently appointed Mr. Bordick interim superintendent.

Ms. Farrell said that if the board decides to go with a consultant the board would have to advertise for requests for proposals and review the consultants before they could get started with the search.

The board agreed to go with Questar for the search.

Also at the August 16 meeting:

• The high school is starting a Teen Weekend Meal Program with the state’s Regional Food Bank to send food home with 15 high school students who deal with hunger outside of school. Teaching Assistant Robin Sullivan presented the program to the board, saying that she needs to raise $4,167 by October to fund the 30 week program. She said she has already raised $480.

The program also involves student volunteers who help pack the meals. The program is like the BackPack programs in the lower grades which sends students home on the weekends with back packs of food. “Please consider the impact the program will have on the students,” she said at the meeting.

To donate the food program, which is limited to 15 students through the pantry food bank, residents can make checks out to Ichabod Crane High School TWMP. The district cannot fund the program so it must be supported by donation.

Ms. Sullivan told the board that she also runs a pantry and clothing “closet” for students to use and is looking for donations of clothing and nonperishable food, as well as hangers, detergent and other items for cleaning cloths. Her contact information is

• Board members reviewed and approved the student code of conduct with a few changes. This year, students in the high school will not be allowed to carry backpacks or large bags in the hallways between classes. “Backpacks hide a lot of things,” Mr. Zini said

• The board adopted a tax levy of $22,451,460, which Business Manager Michael Brennan said was 60% of the total revenue for the district. The collection of school taxes begins September 1

• The board will hold a special meeting on August 23 to discuss school board goals at 7 p.m. At 6 p.m. there will be a tour of the new entrances and upgrades to the school buildings starting at the Primary School.

The next regular board meeting will be Tuesday, September 6 at 7 p.m. in the High School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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