KINDERHOOK—The Ichabod Crane Board of Education met in person and on Zoom Tuesday, September 1. Board President Matthew Nelson said that at the in-person meeting, held in the primary school cafeteria, the district followed safety guidelines of everyone in masks, having temperature checks and a sign-in for contract tracing. The meeting was also streamed live online.
Mr. Nelson announced that board member Jessica Berner has resigned. The board has decided to ask community members to apply for the position and the board will appoint someone in October to finish the rest of Ms. Berner’s term, which will expire in May 2021. The board plans to release more information about how to apply for the seat.
The board also heard an update on district finances. Questar III/BOCES released a video that District Business Manager Michael Brennan shared with the board that said the governor had warned of a 20% cut in state aid if the federal government did not provide additional relief to states.
The video voiceover said that in July the state began withholding that aid, saying, “If the state converts these withholdings to permanent reductions, this would mean that school districts in the Questar III region of Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene would cumulatively lose in excess of $80 million. This figure would be higher if the state also cut grants or other revenue sources.”
Mr. Brennan said that there are a lot of things “to be determined” about possible cuts. But he did say that the district receives about $15 million overall in state aid, so if the state withheld the aid it would be about a $3.1 million cut. He said the district has healthy reserves. And they have a plan to look first to reserves, then cuts to non-Covid 19 related supplies. He did point out that the district is spending more this year opening school due to safety issues because of the pandemic.
District Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow announced during her report that the teachers started back in the district this week for professional development days. She also talked about the staggerred opening process for students in September. There is a calendar and reopening information on the district website at www.ichabodcrane.org
Also at the meeting, the board heard an update on construction in the district from Turner Construction, the manager of the project, and CS Arch, the designer. Work in the high school and middle school continues, with temporary classrooms in place at the middle school for the start of school.
Dan Woodside, from CS Arch, talked about the Energy Performance Contract part of the construction project. Solar panels are planned for school grounds as part of that contract. Mr. Woodside said the designs were reviewed by the Town of Kinderhook Planning Board and there is a public hearing on September 10 in front of that board. The Zoom address to attend the meeting is on the town’s website at www.kinderhook-ny.gov
Also at the meeting:
• Ms. Guntlow advised parents to use the Traversa Ride 360 app this year if their student is riding a bus for pick-up and drop-off times, since the transportation will be more complicated
• The board accepted the registrations due to retirement of custodian Ron Near and bus driver Paul Voltz
• The board approved changes to the school’s code of conduct after a public hearing. The updates are on the district website.
The next school board meeting will be Tuesday, October 6 at 7 p.m. It is tentative scheduled to again be in the primary school and on Zoom.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email