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ICC reorganizes administration, eyes what needs fixing

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KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane school board approved a change in several of the district administrators’ jobs this week and discussed plans to hire a new assistant principal for the elementary and middle schools, which are housed in the same building.

The board’s special meeting Tuesday, August 21, was scheduled to approve the $20-million tax levy to support the 2012-13 school budget. The levy will increase by 2.56% over last year. The board’s vote was a formal step following voter approval of the school district budget in May. The action also adopts state mandated delinquent tax penalties: no penalty for the first month, September 1 to October 1, and a 2% penalty for the second month of October 2 through October 31.

The board also discussed creating a special facilities committee, which would include community members, to look at what building issues should be addressed in capital improvements project the board hopes to initiate next year. Board member John Chandler, who is on the boards regular Facilities Committee made up of board members and staff, said, “We have critical needs that need to be addressed within the schools.”

There will be an information meeting Tuesday, August 28 at 7 p.m. at the Middle School about facilities issues. A tour of the school district buildings will take place Tuesday, September 4 at 5:30 p.m. starting at the Primary School. The tour is open to the public.

The board is currently in contract with Jack Shainman for the sale of the Martin Van Buran School in the Village of Kinderhook. The district closed the school in 2011 due to declining enrollment. Mr. Shainman, a gallery owner, has offered the district $550,000 for the brick building. Board President Anthony Welcome said the closing date has not yet been set.

The outlook for the sale of the empty Martin H. Glynn School in Valatie is not as bright. The Town of Kinderhook and the Village of Valatie were supposed to buy the building, which is in the village, and use it for their municipal offices. School district voters approved the transfer of the old school to the municipalities for $1, but the school board and the local governments have yet to finalize the agreement.

The district’s interim superintendent, Lee Bordick, said the board is sending a letter to town Supervisor Pat Grattan and village Mayor Gary Strevell asking what their intensions are for the building. He said the letter will ask for a concrete plan for the sale by September 1 and a finalized contract of sale by September 30.

The town and village are were scheduled to hold a special committee meeting about the school building Thursday, August 23 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall in Niverville. Some school board members said they would attend the meeting.

The board also approved the reorganization of administrators in the district at the meeting. In September, Tim Farley will be the principal for both the Middle (6th through 8th grade) and Elementary schools (4th and 5th grade). Shannon Shine will move to Primary School (kindergarten through 3rd grade). The current Primary School principal, Melissa Murray, was reassigned with the title of principal for the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) and Curriculum and Instruction. None of the administrators’ salaries will change.

The district is adding an Assistant Principal who will work in both the Middle and Elementary schools. Mr. Bordick said that this new assistant principal’s pay will come mostly from the district’s reserves. The board will be looking to fill the position soon.

Mr. Bordick also said that before changing Ms. Murray’s title and putting her in charge of the APPR, the district did not have the administrative staff to complete the state mandated APPR by the cutoff date this fall. If the district does not have the teacher evaluation program in place by November, it risks losing state aid, although news reports this week said that many districts statewide faced the same problem.

The next regular board meeting is Tuesday September 4 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School Library. School starts on September 5.

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