School says budget rests on contract negotiations

CRARYVILLE–Discussion at the March 24 budget workshop of Taconic Hills Board of Education indicates that union negotiations in progress now may play a key role in determining whether the solution to the budget crisis will involve pink slips.

“Until we have a budget we can’t make staffing decisions,” said Schools Superintendent Mark Sposato. “We’re in the middle of the fact finding part of negotiations with the teachers union,” he said. “We’re looking at the big picture. When contracts are settled there are usually raises… . It’s not how much they make, it’s the base salaries and all the add-ons.” Read more…

ICC board ponders fate of sports, buses

KINDERHOOK -At its last scheduled budget development meeting Tuesday night the Ichabod Crane school board discussed salvaging the modified sports program previously removed from the proposed $37.6-million budget.

At the March 30 meeting board members also discussed the Bus Purchase Proposal, which will appear as a proposition separate from the school district budget on the May ballot. Transportation Director Sherrill Phillips told the board the plan is to replace 4 of the district’s 65-passenger buses with 4 buses that carry 72 passengers each. She and Business Administrator Gregory Giammarco stressed that four buses is what the district needs. Ms. Phillips said that her mechanics tell her that of the fleet of buses, 16 are in poor condition and 7 are rated fair. “And those seven in fair will be in poor soon enough,” she said. Read more…

Census asks: Anybody home?

Census Bureau is now set to deliver forms by hand to rural areas of county

HUDSON–“We can’t move forward until you mail it back.”

If you haven’t heard that 2010 census slogan, you must be living under a rock somewhere–in which case a census taker is looking for you.

Read more…

GOP taps Gibson

Kinderhook native will challenge Democrat Scott Murphy in House race

ALBANY–The leaders of the county Republican Party committees in the 20th Congressional District have endorsed Chris Gibson as their candidate for the November election to oppose Democrat Scott Murphy.

The weighted vote was announced Wednesday, March 31, following a meeting of the 10 county chairmen at the Desmond Hotel. Read more…

Fresh Air Fund needs host families

NEW LEBANON–The Fresh Air Fund is in need of families in Columbia County to host inner city children for a two-week or nine-day period over the summer.

The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, provides free summer experiences in the country to thousands of New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Malene Waldron, Fresh Air Fund Coordinator for the county, said in a press release that the number of host families in Columbia County has dwindled in the last few years and her goal is to build it back up. “The trip to the country is the one vacation these children get; their one chance to play on grass and sand rather than pavement and concrete” Ms. Waldron said in the release

She said Fresh Air Fund children do not need special toys or day trips, just space to run around outside. She also said that in many cases long-lasting friendships are formed between the host family and visiting child.

For more information about becoming a host family, contact Ms. Waldron at (518) 392-7466.