State funding, athletic fields teacher performance also discussed.
By Michael Turton
Dave Merandy was roasted – albeit rather gently – as the former Haldane School Board president returned for one last meeting on Jan. 17. Merandy had served on the Board for ten years before being elected to the Philipstown Town Board last November. He formally resigned from the school board earlier this month. One by one, President Joe Curto, Vice President Gillian Thorpe and Trustees Evan Schwartz and Mike Junjulas praised Merandy for his passion and commitment to Haldane, citing capital improvements, increased transparency in board operations and support for the arts as among of his most significant contributions.
Merandy was given a number of gifts – some serious and some more on the unique side such as a framed copy of the resolution passed in his honor, a large framed photo of Cold Spring – as seen from the middle of the Hudson River and a framed copy of the warrantee for the new roof installed during his tenure. But the highlight of the gift giving spree came from Curto who presented a life-like Dave Merandy bobble-head doll to the former board president. Reaction to the doll was varied, ranging from “very realistic” “funny” and “interesting” to “scary” and “creepy.” Curto said that only two copies of the doll had been produced – with the second going to Superintendent Mark Villanti for his office. Merandy took it all in stride but when it came time for him to thank those he had worked with over the years he became choked with emotion, cutting his comments short. He has already begun his duties as a Town Board member.
Other Board Business in Brief
Superintendent Mark Villanti said that while some school districts may receive up to a four percent increases in State aid. Haldane will not be eligible for an increase since it is considered a wealthy district. He said that if preliminary indications hold true, Haldane will receive about $20,000 less in State aid in the upcoming budget year. Curto said that he has received a number of inquiries from residents interested in filling the seat made available by Merandy’s resignation but “nothing concrete” in terms of applications. Trustees agreed that they will interview prospective candidates in a public session. Deadline for applications is 5 p.m., Monday Jan. 23.
Ward Associates, the consulting firm hired to assess and make recommendations regarding improvements to sports fields across Philipstown, will present their report at a public meeting in the Haldane auditorium at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.
A meeting will be held at Haldane at 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 to discuss the Ward Associates report’s impact on Haldane specifically. The Annual Professional Performance Review for teachers as mandated by Governor Cuomo will also be discussed in this public session.
Katie DeMarco was appointed as a community representative on the Haldane Building and Grounds Committee.
Lindy Labriola, Jack Quigley and Connor Austin, finalists in the Poetry Out Loud competition, will be heading to the regional competition at Fox Lane High School in Bedford on Feb. 16 along with alternate Cal Lane.
Athletic Director Tom Cunningham reported that impact testing, which provides baseline data for assessing concussions received in contact sports and monitoring recovery from such injuries, is continuing for varsity and junior varsity winter teams. Eight student athletes are tested at a time.
Four Haldane football players have been named to two All-State teams. Elias Lopez and Bryant Dain were named to the second All-State Team with Henry Heintzman and James Moss earning spots on third All-State team.
Trustees agreed to authorize a survey and appraisal of the ten acre James Pond property in order to fully assess its value and future potential.
PTA president Laura Danilov reported that the organization is considering establishing a committee to look into bullying. The PTA hosted a panel discussion on the subject late last year.
Photos by M.Turton