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Hudson District scrambles to feed hungry kids at home

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HUDSON–A teacher singled out for praise by a TV station, parking regulations, voting, and special education highlighted the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting February 4.

Michael Antonelli, a chemistry teacher at Hudson High School, has been selected as a Top Teacher of the Year by News Channel 13, the Capital Region NBC affiliate station, after being nominated by the High School’s Student Council. Student Representative Piper Nayowith announced the station’s recognition of Mr. Antonelli at the meeting.

The meeting also saw board members express concern about enforcement of parking regulations when school is not in session and the usual staff is not present. Board member Lucinda Segur reported that she had come to a district school for a weekend event and found a double line of cars filling a fire lane.

Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement April Prestipino said, “I’m willing to bet that many people don’t know that yellow in a lane means don’t park.” Board President Carrie Otty suggested that some people used to parking in their home garage do not always look at indicators on the pavement. However, sometimes during basketball games, cones mark off the fire lanes. The board indicated the matter requires further investigation.

Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier said that the voting May 19 for HCSD Board members and its 2020-21 budget would use paper ballots, and that other districts are considering doing the same. Columbia County cannot supply voting machines because it has to get them ready for a June primary, which will have multiple days of early voting. And Director of Student Services Kim Lybolt presented the status of special education in the HCSD. She reported that although the number of special education students is dropping along with the total student enrollment, special needs students currently in district have more severe problems.

Also at the February 4 meeting:

• Dr. Suttmeier announced upcoming changes in getting food for the BackPack Program. This program distributes back packs full of food on Fridays to students who meet the criteria for needing it over the weekend. The HCSD will be getting shipments once a month rather than once every two weeks, and it will have to pick up the food, because “they will no longer deliver.” So the district is lining up its storage facilities and discussing how to arrange pickups. “It’s such a good program,” said Dr. Suttmeier

• High School seniors and their advisor, music teacher Scott Vorwald, presented the case for a senior class trip to the Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville in the Catskills. Their goal is to reduce to $100 the price each student will have to pay in order to attend the event. At the meeting, they estimated the trip cost to be $170 per student. The senior class will use some of the funds it has collected to cover part of the cost. But Mr. Vorwald cautioned against spending too much of the class funds for the trip, because only about a third of the class goes on it, and the class also needs to save money for higher-attendance events such as the prom and the senior picnic

• Empire State Trail sidewalks will be constructed in front of the High School this summer, according to board member Sage Carter

• Dugouts for the baseball and softball fields are done, Ms. Carter said. Meanwhile “the weight room is coming along.” “Some cardio equipment that was supposed to come next year came this year,” board member Justin Elliott to the meeting. There is a “need to orient coaches to the new equipment,” said Ms. Carter. In some high school gym classes, while half the class practices a sport, the other half uses the weight room

• Possible construction projects in the near future include replacing the storage facility and renovating the high school library and the elementary school 2-5th grade gym, said Ms. Carter

• Mr. Elliott reported that even though some people are disappointed that pool parties will no longer include the option of going to the cafeteria, reservations are still coming in for the pool.

The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will be Tuesday, March 3, at 6:00 p.m. at the Hudson High School. It will begin with a “community budget workshop” at 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting a half hour later.

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