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Last minute calls prompt bus stop rules review


KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education held its annual organization meeting Tuesday, July 9, appointing board member John Chandler vice president and swearing in two new board members, Tracia Gerkman and Kyle Aschenbrenner. Anthony Welcome will continue as president of the board.

During the regular meeting, which started right after the organization proceedings, schools Superintendent George Zini said he wanted to start discussing the issue of transportation in the district. He said the district currently has no busing policy and that students are being picked up and dropped off at different spots by district buses, sometimes with last minute notice to the school.

The new supervisor of transportation, Lori Creeron, said to the board that there 136 students in the primary school who have different weekly drop-off spots and another 220 a month bring in slips to change drop-offs on particular days.

“This puts a real big burden on the staff,” said Mr. Zini.

“My concern is for the safety of our young students,” said Ms. Creeron. She also spoke about bus route efficiency, the safety issues involved when buses that have to add stops and the issue of being sure students are dropped off with the proper adult.

Primary and elementary school Principals Shannon Shine and Tim Farley talked about the strain it puts on staff and the calls the schools receive from distressed parents when a student is put on the wrong bus. Ms. Creeron said the district needs to revamp the bus pass system, and Mr. Shine said that no other district in the area is as flexible with transportation as Ichabod Crane.

Board members voiced concerns about students who need to go to different parents’ houses because of custody issues or childcare. Board member Cheryl Trefzger said she didn’t feel it was fair to change the bus rules now that school starts in six weeks and parents are already making childcare decisions. She suggested the district phase in any changes.

Board member Barbara-Anne Johnson-Heimroth pointed out there is a bigger issue of not many afterschool childcare options.

Mr. Zini said the board would continue discussing the issue at next month’s meeting and that a new policy may not be completed or approved by the board until next spring.

In another matter, the board learned last week that the district has received approval from the state Education Department (SED) to start construction at the high school and middle school and to begin resurfacing the track.

Mr. Zini said he is waiting to hear back from SED about state aid for building four new classrooms at the primary school. The board budgeted to add two trailers to the building to use as classrooms, but with state aid and construction costs, adding rooms may be a more cost-effective solution, according to Mr. Zini. He expects to hear from state officials about the aid before the next meeting.

The district’s central office is already being moved to the high school, freeing up space in the elementary/middle school for art, language, speech and self-contained special education classrooms.

Mr. Zini also said a phone survey is being conducted by the New York State Teachers’ Union. “It’s not our school district doing that,” he told the board at the meeting. But he said of the union collecting information about the district. “I think the intent is very good,” the superintendent added.

He also said he would look into a letter sent to one school board member’s daughter, a recent ICC graduate, about a survey from SUNY Potsdam that said it was being conducted by the Kinderhook School District. Mr. Zini said there was value in having follow-up surveys for graduates but neither he nor High School Principal William Schneider knew anything about this one. “We’ll follow-up with it,” he said.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, August 6 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email



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