Friday, August 2, 2013

A Month Before the School Year Begins

Today's Register-Star has an article about the alternative learning program that is scheduled to open in the former Register-Star building in a month and two days: "Hudson-Catskill alternative education program to be housed on Warren Street."

Business owners on Warren Street are concerned about this change of use for the building, and at last week's Common Council Legal Committee meeting, Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) expressed his dissatisfaction that the school district had not come to the City to discuss the plan before moving ahead, so that the City could do what's best for the city. The proposed new use," Friedman said, affects the tenor of the whole business district," and he predicted that it would have a ripple effect up and down the street. 

HCSD superintendent Maria Suttmeier, however, declares herself convinced that the location is "perfect" for the new program. She supports that opinion by saying that there used to be an alternative education program across the street "at some point." In an email to a constituent, in which he professes not to have known about the plan for the school until July 22, when he was advised that "a story had appeared on a blog that I do not read," Mayor William Hallenbeck too makes reference to the earlier program: "I will also add that the ALP school for years used to be across the street from the pro-printers building in the blue building next to the church which now does something with dogs." (Of course, the mayor meant Johnny's Ideal Printing; Pro-Printers is on Fairview Avenue.)

The fact that "at one time" an ALP program was located on this part of Warren Street is not an adequate reason to think it's a good fit now. "At one time," many of the storefronts on Warren Street were used for low-income housing, and that's certainly not something anyone who cares about the economic viability of Hudson wants to see happen again. 
The most unfortunate thing about this plan is that the basic concept--to provide students who do not succeed in a conventional high school setting other ways of learning and realizing their potential--is one that the community should and does support, but it is being implemented in a way that shows little regard for other interests in the community or for the economic well-being of the city as a whole. As a consequence, as happens so often in Hudson, those objecting to siting an ALP school at the heart of a revitalized main street risk being characterized as elitist NIMBY snobs who want to deny kids struggling academically a chance to succeed. This might have been an opportunity to bring the community together to solve a problem, as the Hudson Reads program at HCSD, created by Lisa Dolan, so admirably does, but instead, foisted on the community with no consultation or consideration, it is yet another impetus for resentment and divisiveness.


  1. Please correct me if i'm wrong - but doesnt the HSD have buildings that are 'for sale' that could be used for this purpose - which dont require 'rent' since out taxes already cover them ?

  2. Divisive? Between whom? The people of Greene County who want to ship their kids here and the people who spend every ounce of money and energy they have trying to make Hudson nice enough to keep growing?

  3. "The blue building next to the church which now does something with dogs."

    Do I detect disdain?

    In a town this small, a mayor should know something about all of the businesses under his care.

  4. Will these students be arriving at school on school buses? If so, does that mean when buses are dropping off and loading up students to take them home, that no traffic will be allowed to proceed in either direction on Warren Street until all the buses are ready to move out? Or will there be a place for the buses off Warren Street?

  5. Let’s dispel some myths:

    - This educational facility is being operated by the Berkshire Union Free School District (BUFSD). BUFSD leased the space and is responsible for the payment of rent.
    - GalVan generously donated $150K in seed money for the program.
    - BY LAW, any student in the HCSD who requires special accommodations that cannot be met within the district is sent to a suitable out-of-district school. The district pays for the out-of-district tuition and receives reimbursement from the state. The district also bears the transportation expense. With BUFSD’s new location in Hudson, there will be significant savings to the district on transportation.
    - The Bridge will provide students faced with a broad range of challenges an alternative learning environment staffed by teachers holding dual certifications.
    - The Bridge will provide some of the district’s highest risk students the ability to obtain a high school diploma as well as life and career readiness skills.
    - The Bridge’s students are not only males – it is a co-ed learning environment.
    - The former Register Star building was already (previously) approved for use as a school.
    - Students will arrive somewhere around 8am (long before most surrounding businesses are even open) and leave around 2:30PM. They will not be leaving the building during the day.
    - Overall, sending students to this facility vs. transporting them daily to BUFSD and other suitable schools will result in a net savings to the district. Please read that again. SENDING HCSD STUDENTS TO THIS FACILITY WILL RESULT IN A NET SAVINGS FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT.
    - It is clear that there are students in the HCSD who need an alternative learning program to successfully graduate. A similarly structured program was successful in the past. This can only increase the graduation rate.
    - These students are OUR CHILDREN. They DESERVE an education. They are not animals, nor are they statistics.

    I have read and heard comments that I would expect to see if there were a prison housing only sex offenders going into the center of Hudson. Hudson, let’s not forget ourselves. Let’s not forget who we are and where we come from. These children are ours – they’re a part of our small community – and they deserve better from us. Let’s stop failing them and start supporting them and promoting their success.

    1. All the NIMBY rhetoric aside, that many of us on the Northside know by heart from GalVan & Scalera's SRO Homeless Shelters, sales pitches;
      The Register Star Bldg. was a Newspaper for 150 years til they sold it to GalVan and it's doubtful that Reg.Star was teaching anyone,the only recent school
      "(previously) approved for school use" would be Atlas Jiu Jitsu ,in uptown side of building,that GalVan rents to.
      Not quite sure that's the same thing.

      Forget it's Warren St.retail location, for a moment. Is this the best sized building with no grounds for the kids and no faculty parking, that your people could come up with, for this School, considering its' Mission Statement?

      GalVan giving $ 150,000 "seed money" become the like Direct TV ,giving free HBO for 3 months. Will GalVan remain on the tax roll here for long? There is always something up with this guy. It's a game.He still can't finish the sidewalk ,of one of his boarded up warehoused apt.bldg.messes next door to me,in the last 7 years ,on Warren & N3rd, but he's going to have this school up and running in a month.

      Allen St School,was "(previously) approved for school use" and GalVan owns that.
      Now, that would get really NIMBY quick,but I think it's safely zoned,from this kind of thing, and anyway Galloway's Mansion is on Allen St.

      There seems to be a lot more appropriate alternatives in this area ,that have been mentioned in this post and others ..that would be much better learning environments for kids, that were built for teaching kids and designed for their needs.

      Why would anyone coop up kids,from 8am to 2:30pm and have their food they won't go outside?Straight off a bus and then straight back on one,after 6 and 1/2 hrs. Most of these kids don't sound like they are too crazy about school to begin with. This is going to help?
      Will they at least get to go into the small fenced in front yard area on Warren St. and get some fresh air?

  6. While Galloway and Von ameriginen are determined to impose their warped vision of helping the poor in Hudson through oceans of money invested in "caring" operations the reality is that there are few students who will actually benefit while the local politicos reap large grant funding to distribute to their cronies

    How about making the public school system in Hudson better. Why is it so expensive and so terrible ? Who is running it? And are they monitored? Why is it that no teachers are reviewed ?

    It's another Hudson ploy to " help" the poor while really promoting another welfare scam. Thanks Henry Von ameringen for being such a patsy. How about making the worst school in new York state better?

  7. We haven't forgotten where we come from or are. The Oprah house has several hundred art and instructional programs for inner city children. The private donors give for these programs
    Hudson people that are new want to build a strong community. They know what that means. They want to give. They do.

    Some people have other ideas that aren't so honorable. Why does Hudson have such a terrible school system ? The third lowest in the state. Comparable to Appalachia ? It's not the money. It's the people running it.

  8. Really? I can not believe this proposal is on the table. It is apparent that very few of us have ever taught high school students. (Going to high school once does not count.) I teach the student that is placed in alternative high school settings. Warren Street is not the place for them. Greenport School would work better as the grounds could be used to promote educational endeavors such as auto body and agriculture. Locking them up in the old jail does not seem fitting... If this was truly about helping our community kids.

  9. The ALP program of today and the former "Alternate School" program are not the same at all. I myself went to the "Alternate School" which used to be located at the former "Blue Anchor" where now currently resides "Bagel Time" on 7th St, then around 1979ish it moved to where currently resides "Dogs of Hudson". I'm not thoroughly familiar with all the aspects of ALP, but I do know that it is not the same program. Personally, learning and integration is good for young folks, but there are many key locations better suited for this and should not be located in the middle of the business district which contributes to the vitality and the financial drive of this city. "What color is the color blue"? Some people need to wake up please. If fathers were fathers and mothers were mothers today, our youth would have direction. Correct the foundation and then you might make a positive impact instead of throwing money and lip service at the problems.