Hudson district OKs first step in primary school exit

HUDSON–The Board of Education has voted to move second grade from John L. Edwards Primary School (JLE) to the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School (MCS) starting in September. The vote took place at the Board’s meeting Monday, January 23. All four board members present at the meeting voted for the move. The full board has seven members.

The move is part of the plan to consolidate the district from three campuses to two. The plan calls for moving the rest of JLE (pre-kindergarten through first grade) to MCS when an addition to that building is constructed.

The board held a public hearing on the second grade move, but only one person from the community attended. She said she had tried to recruit other parents to come with her, but the sleety weather had discouraged them.

The speaker has three children, the oldest two at JLE. One child is in first grade and will be in the first class of second graders at MCS. “I’m not opposed to big kids being with little kids,” the speaker said. But she had concerns about “unsupervised times” and about starting times and lunch.

Superintendent Dr. Maria Suttmeier said that everybody starts the school day at 8 a.m. Some MCS students arrive as early as 7:10 because of bus schedules. These children “play outside” until classes begin. Each grade at MCS has its own lunchtime followed by its own recess. Each grade follows another at lunch and recess.

The speaker also conveyed a question she said was from another parent: “How do you handle resources and remediation?”

Dr. Suttmeier said that for some specialized teachers, different school buildings will “share their staff.”

MCS Principal Mark Brenneman and JLE principal Steven Spicer discuss the move. In addition, Mr. Brenneman plans to talk with parents of transferring children and give them tours of the building. Mr. Spicer came to the beginning of the January 23 meeting but did not speak, and he left before the hearing began.

This September will be the third time in 10 years that HCSD grades will have transferred to different buildings. In September 2009, with the closing of Greenport School and the consolidation from four to three campuses, several grades changed buildings. MCS, built as the high school but for years used as the middle school, ended up with four grades: 3 through 6. But this school year, 6th grade transferred to the Junior High, leaving MCS with grades three through five. Next year, with 2nd grade, it will have four grades again. “It’s had four grades before,” Dr. Suttmeier said. “It can do it again.”

The overall plan calls for two campuses, each with seven grade levels: the Junior/Senior High for 6th through 12th grades, and MCS for pre-kindergarten through 5th grade. Completing this goal will require another addition to MCS. “We hope to get the construction out to bid in August and September,” said John Sharkey of Rhinebeck Architecture.

The MCS addition is Phase 2 of the District’s capital construction project; Rhinebeck Architecture is designing the project. Phase 1 includes converting the high school football field to artificial turf and building a track and other facilities. For Phase 1 construction, eight contractors have already submitted bids, Mr. Sharkey reported. “So far it looks like it’s at or below budget,” he said.

Construction on the sports field should start April 17, and the new field “will be ready for fall sports” in September. Any money left over from Phase 1 will be added to the money available for Phase 2.

Also at the meeting Dr. Suttmeier announced Questar III is interested in partnering with Columbia Memorial Hospital for a New Visions program to give high school students experience in healthcare work.

The next Hudson City School District meeting will take place Monday, February 13, at Hudson High School. It will start with a curriculum workshop at 6 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 7 p.m.

A community budget workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 7.

Comments are closed.