Hudson official reminds public of school tax rules

HUDSON—Property tax payments, police, in-person activities, teacher mentors and a Questar III BOCES presentation highlighted the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting May 4.

Currently district property owners get their school tax bill in July and must pay half by mid-August and the rest by mid-October. Wayne Francis of Hudson asked whether taxpayers could have the option of paying in more, smaller installments.

Business Administrator Jesse Boehme replied that the option is not available because the school district needs the money at the start of the school year. But said he would continue looking into the matter.

Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier reported that she is discussing protocols for police body cameras with other school districts, law enforcement and attorneys. The policy for using such cameras on school property might end up different from the policies enacted for using the cameras elsewhere.

More in-person events can occur this spring, Dr. Suttmeier announced. Under planning are field days, moving-up ceremonies, and an under-roof prom. Under consideration is how the prom’s dancing and eating can observe social distancing protocols.

As schools plan to change the classroom seat distance from 6 feet to 3 feet they are wrestling with how to fit in more students during the beginning of the day, dismissal time, and meal times, Dr. Suttmeier said.

Dr. April Prestipino, assistant superintendent of school improvement, reported that the retirement of many long-term teachers has created a shortage of mentors for new teachers. Therefore, the District is “recruiting” new teacher-mentors. To become a mentor, a teacher must have worked at HCSD for at least five years and must have tenure.

Questar III BOCES, which provides HCSD with many programs and services, presented an overview of its programs. Presenters included Dr. Gladys Cruz, the BOCES district superintendent, and several members of her staff. Two features of the presentation were follow-ups and new programs.

Questar III followed-up with alumni of its programs using a survey six months after the students graduated as part of the Class of 2019. Of the 155 survey respondents: 57% were attending post-secondary education, 22% were employed in a field related to the one they had studied in Questar, 11% were employed in a different field, and 4% were unemployed.

New programs include Early College in High School (ECHS), P-Tech, and Cyber/Homeland Security (EPICH).  In both programs, students earn college credit at no cost while also earning high school credit and a high school diploma. Students enter as 9th graders.

ECHS is a four-year program that leads to 24-60 college credits. The P-Tech program is six years and leads to an associate degree from Hudson Valley Community College in Troy. Majors available include Computer Information Systems, Engineering Technology, Environmental Technology, and Health Sciences.

EPICH (Emergency Preparedness, Informatics, Cyber and Homeland Security) is one of Questar III’s New Visions programs. This one partners with SUNY at Albany and brings 15 college credits.

Also at the meeting:

* The District welcomed Rachel Lambert as a new Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, starting December. She will graduate May 15 from SUNY Oneonta and has lived her whole life in Rotterdam near Schenectady. Dr. Suttmeier said that in the interviews, she was impressed by Ms. Lambert’s “talent, creativity, positivity and motivation”

* Mark Brenneman, principal of the Montgomery C.  Smith Elementary School discussed the choice of the Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) reading program for pre-kindergarten through 6th grade. He said that a good predictor of whether a student will graduate from high school or succeed in college is whether the student reads at least at grade level in third grade.

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