Merandy to step down as school board president
By Michael Turton
There is a movement afoot that could see at least some Haldane students play hockey as part of a school team – although there will be no blue devil on their jerseys. Kurt Heitman, a local developmental hockey coach, and Katherine Cox, mother of an eighth grade Haldane student, asked the Haldane Board of Trustees to support the idea of establishing a modified hockey team. If approved, it would allow seventh, eighth and ninth grade students to play on a combined team as part of Hendrick Hudson School in Peekskill. Seventh and eighth grade students from Garrison could also be part of the team which would play an eight game schedule and hold eleven practices beginning in November. Heitman, who has coached youth hockey at West Point, said that Hendrick Hudson recently approved establishing a varsity hockey team as well.
In his presentation before the June 21 meeting at Haldane, Heitman stressed that the team would be “completely self funded” and would not impact the Haldane budget. Trustees were skeptical and peppered Heitman with numerous questions regarding costs, transportation, equipment certification, liability and other issues. Transportation was cause for particular concern. The team would practice in locations such as Brewster, Palisades Mall and Westchester Skating Club. “Busing to Brewster does not sound like a good idea” said board president Dave Merandy. Director of Facilities Wayne Robinson said, “We would need another driver minimum and eventually another bus.” Heitman argued that students could be bused to Peekskill by Haldane and then to the rink by Hendrick Hudson. Parents could be required to pick students up after games and practice.
Merandy remained dubious. “I’m always against starting a new team in a tough economy”¦this is ‘free’ but”¦ there are a number of issues to be addressed. I need more information on costs. If more students sign up will we be responsible to pay?” he asked. Heitman said that three students from Haldane and four from Garrison have confirmed interest in playing. “Kids would like to be able to play for their schools and not just a club team,” he said. Trustee Mike Junjulas expressed concern that having a hockey team might have a negative impact on existing Haldane teams. “This could draw from other sports”¦and we have a small pool” [of athletes].
With many questions left unanswered, trustee Gillian Thorpe suggested that a process be developed whereby delegations requesting a new team be given a complete outline listing all information needed by the board to make an informed decision. Heitman and Director of Athletics Tom Cunningham will present additional information at a future meeting.
Kudos all around
A considerable amount of well-earned praise was handed out at the meeting. Senior Karen Lopez was honored for being named winner of an Opportunity Scholarship for overcoming adversity. A large contingent from Haldane’s Destination Imagination teams was on hand and earned kudos for their success – including a trip to the Global Championships in Tennessee. Representatives of the girls’ softball team, which went all the way to the final game of the state championships, were also lauded for their success. Zach Landtroop was unable to attend, but drew praise from Merandy for being “an exceptional student” and for acting as liaison between the students and the board. “He is very articulate. I’m sure he is going to go far.”
Code of conduct, athletic handbook move forward
Presentations were made by High School Principal Brian Alm regarding the revised Code of Conduct and by Cunningham regarding the Athletic Handbook. The meeting served as the public hearing for the Code of Conduct. Final revisions for the athletic handbook will be presented at the board retreat in July.
Summer capital projects
While students will be nowhere to be seen this summer, the Haldane campus will remain busy. Facilities director Wayne Robinson outlined a number of capital projects that will be completed in July and August including paving, electrical, plumbing and storm water improvements.
Merandy steps down
Dave Merandy, who is running for a seat on the Philipstown town board in the fall election, announced he won’t seek reelection as president of the Haldane Board of Education. “However I will stay on the school board regardless of the outcome [of the municipal election]. And it’s legal!’ he said to a hearty round of applause. The school board president is elected by the trustees.
Photo by M. Turton