HUDSON—Summer school, food matters, instruction time, new staff, and elementary school sports received attention at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting July 20.
Summer school started this month and district Superintendent Dr. Maria L. Suttmeier announced there are 154 students in 6th through 12th grades and 142 in kindergarten through 5th grade for a total of 296 summer students.
The total is 18.6% of the state Education Department’s latest count of 1,591 for the total enrollment in the HCSD in kindergarten through 12th grades for the 2020-21 school year.
The district provides buses for summer school. After-school, students can take the buses directly to some destinations, such as Oakdale Lake, Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reported.
The cafeteria serves free breakfast and lunch for all persons under 18 years old who live in the district, Mr. Boehme announced. There are no income restrictions. Even children too young for school are eligible, Dr. Suttmeier confirmed. Breakfasts are available from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and lunches are available from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on a take-out basis. (In-school eating is for summer school students.)
For food services the HCSD has joined a Capital Region BOCES program, Mr. Boehme reported. This can reduce food purchase costs, because ordering jointly with other districts can lead to steeper bulk discounts.
In addition, the HCSD needs a new head of food services and is talking with the one the program has proposed. The program is also supplying services that are new to the district, such as a registered dietitian. Halal food is available, provisions are made for people with food allergies and, Mr. Boehme added, “They were able to give us fresh food for summer school.”
‘We entered the summer needing to fill about 10 positions. Now we need to fill about 15.’
Asst. Sup’t., Dr. April Prestipino
Hudson City School District
On another topic, Dr. Suttmeier announced that the state wants to “maximize instructional time,” and school districts are talking with the teachers’ union about how to do this without increasing the teachers’ contracted work day. And without “shortchanging time for recess and lunch,” recommended board member Sage Carter. Recess and lunch are 20 minutes each.
The meeting also welcomed four new people to the faculty and staff. They are:
* Tracy Gaffney, secretary to the Superintendent. She replaces Dawn McDonald who just retired. Ms. Gaffney is from Catskill and has worked in the Catskill Middle School
* Meredith Zapp, reading specialist. She said she was born and raised in Hudson, lives in the HCSD, and taught for eight years in Chatham
* Courtney Lapp, Special Education teacher. She said she taught in the HCSD before, went to teach for Questar, and now is returning to the Hudson district
* Kristine Livingston, science teacher.
Despite the new employees, Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement Dr. April Prestipino reported, “We entered the summer needing to fill about 10 positions. Now we need to fill about 15.”
Employees are switching to other districts, reported Dr. Suttmeier.
“Have you been getting a lot of applicants?” asked Board member Mark DePace.
“That depends on the position,” replied Dr. Suttmeier. “For technology we didn’t get a lot of applicants.”
Dr. Suttmeier reported that she and Elementary School Principal Mark Brenneman have been talking with Justin Cukerstein, coordinator for interscholastic sports, about starting a sports program for elementary school students. Mr. Cukerstein plans to make a presentation to the Board about this in August.
Also at the meeting:
* The Board designated Gladys Cruz, superintendent of Questar III BOCES, as search consultant for finding a new superintendent of the HCSD. Dr. Suttmeier plans to retire in January.
* Mr. Boehme said that the HCSD is moving some student desks back into the active school buildings, in anticipation of shorter social distance requirements.
The next meeting of the Hudson City School District Board of Education will take place Tuesday, August 3, at 6 p.m.