Hudson school officials make case for annual budget

HUDSON—City School District (HCSD) Superintendent Lisamarie Spindler and Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reviewed and summarized the proposed 2022-23 budget at the April 26 and May 3 school board meetings. The proposed new budget calls for spending $54,125,024, 3.6% higher than for 2021-22. it will go into effect only if voters pass it on May 17.

Under this budget there will be no lay offs, and the HCSD will replace all retirees, hire more teachers and support staff, and add a second pre-kindergarten class.

Mark DePace, vice president of the board, wondered what to say if a member of the public asked why the budget is increasing while enrollment is decreasing. Read more…

Hawthorne Valley recalls raw milk

HAWTHORNE VALLEY—A press release from the Hawthorne Valley Farm Friday, May 13 says that on Tuesday, May 3 a sample of raw milk was taken from the farm’s creamery’s bulk tank by state Department of Agriculture and Markets. “On Thursday, May 5, this sample came back as presumptive positive for listeria monocytogenes, a harmful bacteria that can cause listeriosis,” according to the release.

The release goes on to say, “This positive result was confirmed on Thursday, May 12. All raw milk has been pulled off the shelf and any that was purchased since May 2 must be discarded. The milk will be retested by the state until it is confirmed that is safe again to consume. Read more…

Students show support for LGBTQ+ club

KINDERHOOK—Several students, a teacher and a parent spoke out in support of the middle school Pride Club at the Ichabod Crane Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 3.

The club, which several of the speakers pointed out is not a mandatory class, meets after school and “offers a safe place for all individuals of all backgrounds and differences,” according to the district website.

The description of the club goes on to say that “our goal, as a club, is to promote and teach tolerance and acceptance throughout the school community and beyond. We also aim to provide a safe, non-judgmental space as a support network for students of all identities in the Ichabod Crane community.” Pride clubs are in many schools in the country and are open to LGBTQ+ students and their allies. There is also a Pride Club in the Ichabod Crane High School. Read more…

Who benefits from more overtime for farmworkers?

GHENT—The $220-billion state budget passed by the legislature April 9 triples the state’s commitment to its agriculture industry compared to the budget for the last fiscal year.

The farm owner advocacy groups New York Farm Bureau and Grow NY Farms praised the 2022-23 budget, which includes increased farm employer tax credits up to 118% of the cost for overtime hours worked. The budget also doubles tax credits to $1,200 per worker for farm employee retention. The groups’ official statements called the tax credits “unprecedented.”

But not everybody believes that government has done all it could. One thing still not clear is whether Governor Kathy Hochul will adopt a change sought by farmworker advocates. They want to see the adoption of a recommendation from the Farm Laborers Wage Board, passed in January by a 2-1 vote, which calls for a reduction in the threshold for overtime farmwork from the current 60 hours per week to 40 hours. The recommendation would be phased in over a 10-year period starting in 2024. Read more…

Yes, the grass is greener over here

The milk cows at the Hawthorne Valley Farm in Harlemville have been confined to their barn and its immediate yard since November. Each spring as the weather warms and the grass turns thick and green the cows are put out to pasture. Federal regulations require that organic dairy cows spend at least 120 days in pasture each year. This year the cows emerged from the barn on Friday, April 29. They looked thrilled as they ran, skipped and leaped down the lane to the field. It is a celebration for the children of the Hawthorne Valley School as well, who come out with their teachers to watch. The farm’s milking herd is approximately 60. Hawthorne Valley Farm cows do not have their horns trimmed as the cows on most other dairy farms do. Photo by David Lee