Now ICC ponders $27M question

KINDERHOOK–At the September 11 meeting the Ichabod Crane Board of Education came to what Board President Matthew Nelson called a “working consensus” to propose a $27-million capital improvement project. The board did not vote on that final number at the meeting and two board members expressed concern about the amount.

The week before at a workshop meeting on September 5, the board was looking at a $25-million project to upgrade the classrooms–called pods–in the middle school as well as upgrades to the high school math, science and technology classrooms. The plan also includes a road that would connect all three buildings on the campus, storage space in the middle school music suite, a sound booth in the high school auditorium and bleachers on one of the sports fields.

In addition there are several building and infrastructure projects that must be done for the project to be eligible for state aid. Read more…

G’town officer files petitions to force vote on police

GERMANTOWN—While the Town Board voted unanimously in August to abolish the Police Department, the final decision in the matter remains to be seen.

The board’s vote is subject to a Permissive Referendum. That is, it does not take effect for 30 after its adoption. During that time a petition may be circulated to put the decision to a referendum at the next general election, November 6.

At press time that petition appeared to have been successfully circulated. It needed signatures from at least 5% of the number of Germantown voters in the last gubernatorial election (2014)–40 people–said Brian DuBois, officer in charge of the Police Department, who is on paid administrative leave. Read more…

School enrollment dropped by nearly a third since 2000

GHENT–Public school enrollment in Columbia County has been dropping steadily since no later than 2000, according to the latest state Education Department enrollment data. The latest data considered final are through October 2016.

In round numbers the total enrollment for the county’s six districts fell from 9,600 students in the 2000-01 school year to 6,800 in the 2016-17 year, a drop of 29%.

For individual districts, the drop in enrollment during that time frame ranged between 27% and 38%.
For all schools, enrollment has steadily dropped from each year to the next, with a few exceptions. Read more…

ICC school board ponders $25-million question

KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane Board of Education moved closer to finalizing plans for a proposed capital improvement project after a nearly five-hour special meeting September 5.

The board is now looking at a $25-million project to upgrade the classrooms–called pods–in the middle school as well as upgrades to the high school math, science and technology classrooms. The plan also includes a road that would connect all three buildings on the campus, storage space in the middle school music suite, a sound booth in the high school auditorium and bleachers on one of the sports fields.

In addition there are several building and infrastructure projects that must be done for the project to be eligible for state aid.

The board originally looked a facilities study that suggested over $40 million in upgrades and board members spent several meetings over the summer reviewing the plan to bring that number down and move forward with the most important projects in Phase 1 with the possibility of a Phase 2 of the project in five years from now. The board also held a public information meeting in July and met with the district’s financial adviser to talk about the cost to district taxpayers. Read more…

Supersoul Farm yoga center expands in Canaan

CANAAN–Raghunath and Bridget Raymond-Capo brought their vision to the town Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals over the past month have won support for commercial use of their residential property–an expanding yoga retreat and education center, located at 365 Schillings Crossing Road off Route 295.

Supersoul also operates the Supersoul Yoga Studio on Main Street in the Village of Chatham.

The Supersoul Farm, as the site is called, attracts students from New York City and the greater New York metropolitan area. In that sense it may be one example of the growth in traveler spending experienced in Columbia County. In 2016 traveler spending rose by 7.7% to over $140 million and tax revenues generated by tourists here increased 8.2%. Read more…