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Hudson School District plans outreach on $19M upgrade vote


HUDSON–TV during recess, pay for substitutes and courses for simultaneous high school and college credit came up at the Hudson City School District Board of Education meeting Monday, January 11.

The board also discussed the January 20 deadline for candidates who wish to be considered for appointment to a vacant seat on the board. Candidates should send a letter of interest to Leslie Coons, Clerk of the Board, Hudson City School District, 215 Harry Howard Avenue, Hudson, NY 12534. Candidates should also attend the January 25 Board meeting, where the Board hopes to make the selection. So far three people have applied.

On February 9, District residents are to vote on whether to approve spending over $19 million for a capital improvements project and whether to sell the Claverack School. The ballot proposition, called the Capital Project, includes construction plans for district buildings and athletic fields. Before the referendum, community conversations on the project will take place on three Wednesday evenings—January 20, January 27, and February 3. The meetings will take place at the John L. Edwards Primary School in Hudson at 6 p.m.

In a related development, Dan and Mary Udall of Taghkanic said they had been to a Hudson City Council meeting at which people had questions about the Capital Project. They said people at the meeting wanted to speak with board or district officials.

Hudson Superintendent of Schools Maria Suttmeier acknowledged that many Common Council informal meetings and School Board regular meetings occur on the same schedule

Last year, after several parents expressed concern about TV in recess, the board adopted a media policy to limit screen time. Extra staff was hired to guide children to alternate activities when weather conditions force recess indoors. But board member Sage Carter said she has “received complaints that Primary School kids are still spending recess sitting and watching videos.”

Superintendent Suttmeier said, “Recess is not instructional time,” adding that it’s a time when students should be free to indulge in physical activity. At the Intermediate School, children have the gym for indoor recess. But the Primary School has that option only for one recess period; during other recess periods, gym classes use the space.

Board President Maria McLaughlin said she had heard of Primary School students spending consecutive indoor recesses “in the library, watching videos” but that Primary School Principal Steven Spicer had said, “They aren’t watching videos; they’re watching e-books.”

Superintendent Suttmeier indicated that that watching e-books was still screen time.

On another matter the board discussed reimbursing substitute teachers for the cost of getting fingerprinted. Superintendent Suttmeier said the district used to pay for fingerprinting but individuals were getting their fingerprints recorded through the Hudson District program and then going to work for other districts. The district has a shortage of substitute teachers and the Board acknowledged that the pay is lower in this district than in many others nearby. One proposal is that substitute teacher candidates pay for their fingerprints, but for the first four days they teach, they get reimbursed for ¼ of the cost. Board member William Kappel said fingerprint reimbursements should not be taxed. The matter remains under consideration.

Superintendent Suttmeier said that Bard College is eager to foster a College in High School program, where students take courses that earn simultaneously one high school and four college credits. The proposal envisions the courses taking place in the former Coarc building near the corner of Warren and First streets in Hudson. Half of the building would house the Bard program; the other half would house the Bridge Alternate Transition Program. Students in the Bard program would spend a half day at their high school and half a day at the Warren Street site. The program expects to serve high school juniors and seniors who, while not academic stars, could get motivated by this experience to attend college.

Also at the meeting:

  • The Board voted to accept Vision 2020 goals, updating Destination Graduation goals
  • Ms. McLaughlin read letters recognizing two retiring teachers: Elizabeth Dolan, a teacher at the Intermediate School for 31 years, and Andrea Mastriani, a music teacher for 33 years at the Junior/Senior High School.

The next Board of Education meeting will take place Monday, January 25, at 7 p.m. at the Hudson High School Library. The next public conversation about the Capital Project will take place Wednesday, January 20, at 6:00 pm, at the John L. Edwards Primary School.



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