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Hudson gets late start on tax breaks for vets


HUDSON–School tax reductions for veterans and awards for Scholar Athletes occupied the Board of Education Monday, January 12. A public hearing regarding the taxes could take place on February 23.

At the meeting, Arnold van Deusen, on behalf of Korean War veterans, requested that the board at least hold a hearing about the tax reduction option. Last year Governor Cuomo signed a bill authorizing school districts to reduce the property tax rate for veterans, explained District Business Executive Robert Yusko. But if a board approves a reduction, the district must hold a public hearing before the reduction can take effect. “The total levy doesn’t change,” Mr. Yusko said, and lower taxes for veterans could mean higher taxes for others.

The state specified a basic formula for calculating the tax reductions: some exemption for all veterans, more for those who were in combat, the most for those who were wounded, Mr. Yusko said. Any departure from the basic formula would require a second public hearing. All public hearings must take place before March 1, to enable planning for the next year’s school budget.

Hudson has time for only one public hearing, so if the district adopts the veterans tax reduction, it will have to use the state’s basic formula for the 2015-16 school year.

Mr. van Deusen noted that other Columbia County School districts, including Germantown, had already started the process.

“I’ve heard from veterans,” Mr. Yusko said.

In another business item at this week’s meeting, three Hudson High School girls’ varsity sports teams received Scholar/Athlete awards. To qualify, the team members must achieve a “composite grade” of at least 90% in school subjects. At the January 12 meeting, the Board of Education formally congratulated the coach and team members “for their outstanding accomplishments,” and the coaches called up team members and gave them certificates.

Qualifying team members were:

  • Volleyball (certificates presented by coach Chuck Peters): Kelsey Alvarez, Maya Alvarez, Nyla Dallas, Karissa Garbarina, Larissa Garcia, Michaela Marotta, Alexis Peters, Adrianna Tampasis, Annalese Tampasis
  • Soccer (certificates presented by coach Allison Blake): Shervanessa Baker, Lauren Bowes, Melis Chavez, Emily Clark, Charissa Gardener, Ja-Nayia Ivery, Janessa Mackey, Kayleigh McCagg, Alexis Peters, Jenifer Rosete-Garcia, Erica Scalera, Brittany Varriale

Tennis (certificates presented by coach Jeanine Millar): Farzana Ahkter, Nabila Ahkter, Jazmine Basher, Atia Begh, Sheila Dejesus, Saima Hannan, Zarqa Khalid, Gina Leccese, Kristen O’Connell, Olivia Waldron, Rebecca Ward.

Also at the meeting:

  • Board member Maria McLaughlin mentioned a puppet show at the primary school on January 16 and expressed concern about the school’s limited capacity and the anticipated audience. The Lille Kartofler Figurentheatre from Germany will perform “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” using “lifelike puppets,” at the Primary School Friday, January 16 at 6 p.m. The event is presented by the Hudson Opera House. The suggested admission is $10 per family. Earlier that day, according to Ms. McLaughlin, there will be a special free performance for some primary school pupils.

The problem with the evening public performance, district Superintendent Maria Suttmeier implied, is the school’s auditorium has maximum capacity of only 160 people. At a recent board meeting, Ms. Suttmeier mentioned that officials had notified her about another public event at the Primary School that exceeded the room’s capacity and she expressed the wish to find a way to increase the number of people allowed to gather there. But for now, she admitted, if more than 160 people show up for Friday evening’s puppet show, “They’ll have to turn people away”

  • Regarding weather-related school closings and delays, Ms. Suttmeier indicated that no matter how late schools open, and whether they open, she must start evaluating options at 4 a.m. And no matter how late schools open, the cafeteria staff must come in at its usual time, in order to serve lunch on time.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place Monday, January 26, at the Junior High School Library. It will start with a curriculum workshop at 6 p.m. and continue with the regular meeting at 7 p.m.

The public hearing about school tax breaks for veterans is likely to occur around February 23.


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