KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane School Board reelected Anthony Welcome board president this week. Matthew Nelson was elected vice-president. Mr. Welcome and Mr. Nelson where both nominated for president but Mr. Welcome won the seat by 5 votes to 3, with board member Jeffrey Ouellette absent. Mr. Welcome has been board president since 2012.
The organization meeting Tuesday evening, July 11, which was held before the regular meeting, was the first meeting presided over by Superintendent Michael Vanyo, who took over the position as head of one of the county’s largest districts from George Zini in July.
Mr. Vanyo started in the district office along with Suzanna Guntlow, who moved from Primary School principal to principal for the APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers), an administrative position in the Central Office. Andrea Williams started as Primary School Principal on July 1.
During the regular meeting Mr. Vanyo told the board, “I’m thrilled to be here.” He said that he had been meeting with administrators and department heads to look at future projects in the district.
Mr. Vanyo and the Transportation Department head Dan Doyle both mentioned during their reports that they had begun to consider a “one-bell system,” which would mean one set of bus runs each morning and afternoon so that all district schools would start and end at about the same time. “We started looking at a single bus run,” Mr. Vanyo said.
Mr. Doyle said that they would evaluate whether the change to a one-bell system was possible and what the cost savings would be to the district.
Mr. Doyle also proposed two changes in the transportation system that the board agreed with at the meeting. One allows Elementary School students to get off the bus without an adult being at the bus stop. Currently parents who want their 4th and 5th graders to get off the bus without them or a caretaker being present at the stop need to send a note to the school requesting that. Elementary School students ride the bus with Middle School and High School students, and Mr. Doyle said it was confusing for substitute bus drivers to know who is allowed to get off without an adult and who is not. He also suggested that Primary School students be allowed to get off the bus without an adult if a parent sends a note.
“The industry standard is kindergarten,” Mr. Doyle told the board of having an adult be present at the bus stop. He said that Ichabod is the only school in the county that extends that policy up to 5th grade.
He also plans to modify the second-location drop off sign-up sheet, which has allowed students to be dropped off or picked up at five different locations during the week. He said the district will still allow four locations to accommodate for parents who live in separate homes and childcare situations. But he said allowing so many causes delays. “It’s become a logistical and safety issue,” he said.
He said last year, 18,000 bus passes were written. He told the board that there were about 90 a day.
“I believe we are mass transit not a taxi service,” Mr. Doyle told the board. The board agreed that Mr. Doyle should make the changes, which are procedural, not a policy change.
Mr. Doyle said he planned to send a letter to families about the changes by the end of this month.
The board also approved planning for a trip for the Ichabod Crane Acting Troup to New York City to see “Phantom of the Opera” this fall.
The next board meeting will be Tuesday, August 1 at 7 p.m. in the High School Library.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email firstname.lastname@example.org