Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Bridge: A Different Perspective

There has not been much word lately, on this side of the river, about "The Bridge"--the alternative learning program that was supposed to open last week at the corner of Warren and Fourth streets--not since September 3, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the enabling legislation, but today, from the other side of the river, the Catskill Daily Mail has an update: "'Bridge' project on life support." 

In this article, some interesting information is revealed by Kathleen Farrell, the superintendent of the Catskill Central School District, which was to be a partner in the Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy. The teachers for "The Bridge" were to come from Berkshire Union Free School, but according to Farrell, because of the late signing of the bill by Cuomo, Berkshire "redeployed their staff." Although HCSD superintendent Maria Suttmeier last predicted the school would open in January 2014, Farrell says "they're looking at possibly January or next (school) year." 

There's more. According to Farrell, the bill that was approved by the state legislature and signed by Cuomo only addressed creating a school at 364 Warren Street for special education students and did not include alternative education students. So, according to Farrell, the bill has to be amended. What is not addressed in the article is the question of whether or not a public referendum is required for voters in the Catskill Central School District to approve busing students out of the district to attend an alternative learning program.

Thanks to a Gossips reader for bringing this article to my attention.


  1. This project has, and continues to be, characterized by opacity and the pettifogging of the HCSD officials charged with its administration. They tried to do something secretive (because they also knew there would be precious little community support for it in its present location) and quickly. In the end, they just succeeded in making a series of tactical, and now it appears legal, mistakes. Who loses? Once again -- the kids. But also the community which supports the District and which is supposed to, in turn, support the community. But the HCSD -- as embodied by its employees -- has shown again and again that it is more interested in perquisites for those same employees than in accomplishing its mission of basic education.

    As to why Columbia Greene Multimedia or whatever the R-S would like to call itself would report this story on one side of the river and not the other when it clearly impacts this side more (due to the physical location of the ALP actually, you know, being on this side of the river): I'd suggest asking whomever is in charge. Unfortunately this task is made difficult by the fact that whomever that is (him? her?) has never introduced themselves to the community.

  2. Process sounds much like that of the LWRP.

  3. Sorry Kids.
    Make this a learning experience for your future.
    A piece of paper associated with a person does not indicate intelligence.
    I wish you all the best in your new school year(s)where ever it may be.

  4. The 3 Stooges ran a more efficient operation.

  5. John et al,

    Unfortunately, the problem with our school district is elsewhere: Albany and Washington, mostly Albany. The state provides over 60% of the bucks to run this little $43million operation and believe me HCSD knows where its masters are. It took an act of the legislature, for God's sake, just to put in a little school on Warren Street; by the same token, once the legislature said Yes, who cares about Warren Street? Sorry, but the only way to break the habit of arrogance -- and incompetence -- shown by HCSD is by the community to go after the real enemies in Albany, including the all-powerful New York State Union of Teachers, which constantly stands in the way of improvement.