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Lead’s in check but copper lingers in ICC water


KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane School Board last week discussed the results of water testing done in the school buildings. Facilities Director Steven Marotta assured the board that anyone drinking from a fixture in the district it is safe from lead contamination.

Mr. Marotta did say at the November 1 meeting that copper had been detected in the some of the samples tested. He said the district is in talks with the Village of Valatie about the dosing system used to treat water at the plant. The school campus receives its water from the village municipal system and the school buildings are at the end of the village water line.

“Everybody has been very helpful,” Mr. Marotta said of working with the village and the county Health Department.

He also said that the school district might have to treat the water at the schools if the village can’t increase its dosing system to get more chemicals into the water.

He said that the village Water Department had come that day to test the water at the school campus to make sure the chemicals already being used to treat the water at the plant are still in the water by the time it reaches the school buildings.

Of 21 fixtures tested in the district, Superintendent George Zini reported, all in the Primary and Middle School buildings tested clear of lead. Four water fountains and sinks in the High School showed elevated levels of copper.

Mr. Marotta said the state is just coming up with some of the regulations about water in the schools, especially where there is copper, so regulations on the state level are changing.

He also told the board that the tests were done in mid-September and the board has only recently received the results.

“This will be a process and has been,” he told the board. Since the summer, the district has tested water from several hundred sources in all the district’s buildings.

Mr. Marotta said that he has heard from the state that Ichabod is “ahead and more conservative than most” in the process ensuring the safety of its water.

Last week the board also heard from High School Principal Craig Shull, who spoke about the school climate survey that students, parents and staff filled out. A sense of social and emotional security was a big issue on the survey, though many of the respondents had a neutral or positive attitude about the high school.

Mr. Shull said he had a long-term plan for dealing with these concerns, especially with this issue of social media.

“We need to impress upon [students]…how important social media is for their lives,” he said. He also talked about having more character education programs and having students get involved in the community. He said he has already worked on the school’s counselors schedules so they are more available to students.

He said the plan to deal with the issues in the survey “is to look forward three to five years, but we’re starting it now.”

The survey results are on the district’s website at Over 400 students took the survey and 43 teachers but only 28 parents.

Also at the meeting:

• Mr. Zini recognized the board for School Board Recognition week by personally donating to the High School Weekend Food program. He sponsored one child in the program for the year in the board’s name

• Primary School Principal Suzanne Guntlow received tenure. Mr. Zini said, “She genuinely cares about her students and staff.” Ms. Guntlow has worked in the school for three years

• BOCES/Questar III Superintendent Gladys Cruz was at the meeting to report on the district’s search for a new superintendent. She said advertising has started for the position and she had already received calls. “I’m very encouraged,” she told the board. They board has appointed representatives from district staff including administrators and teachers, PTA members and five community members for the candidate interviewing process. Ms. Cruz said she would be back in December to discuss the interviewing process, which will take place in late December.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, December 6 at 7 p.m. in High School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email


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