Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another HCSD Capital Project in the Offing

On Tuesday, the Common Council received a communication from a senior associate at the engineering firm Weston & Sampson, informing the City that the Hudson City School District Board of Education intends to undertake a capital project and has prepared the Environmental Assessment Forms necessary to begin the environmental review. According to the communication, the project consists of:
  • An approximately 18,000 square foot building addition to the Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School, renovation of and additions to existing parking areas (± 100 new stalls), and relocation of the drive aisle around the school.
  • The acquisition of approximately 1 acre of land on an adjacent property to provide room for the new expansion.
A rough drawing on a satellite map which was part of the communication shows that the proposed addition would be on the south side of the building and the acre of land to be acquired is located behind Crosswinds.

Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), believing that the communication was somehow a request for money from the City, stated, "It is very difficult for this City to support this school district financially." He cited the district's spending per student and its shameful graduation rate. He went on to complain that "nobody from this district has ever come before this body." 

Although Friedman was mistaken about the nature of the communication (rather than asking for anything, it simply informed city officials that HCSD was initiating a SEQRA review and declaring itself lead agency), his complaint about HCSD being less than forthcoming about plans for which it expects community support is a valid one. When Gossips tried to learn more about this project, all that could be discovered was that the proposed addition to the middle school may be part of a larger capital project, the principal elements of which are a new soccer field and "sports complex" at the high school, which is expected to go to referendum in a special school district election in January or February. Completing the environmental review for the proposed projects is a prerequisite to seeking funding. However, it seems that the proposed addition to Montgomery C. Smith was discussed at the last HCSD Board of Education meeting. Jeanette Wolfberg reported what transpired in the Columbia Paper: "Hudson plans first steps toward consolidating schools."


  1. memo to john freidman

    the new mayor is/was on the school board. you can now ask her directly why hudson has the worst school system in the state -- 781 out of 783 systems.

    indeed, besides being the worst, it is very expensive.

    the state of new york should take it over for administration. its a disservice to the community. its a total failure -- complete.

    1. The HCSD is certainly a problem for the city and the other communities it is tasked with serving. I floated the idea of creating an Education Committee on the City Council last year, and hope that the new Council president will do that in a thoughtful manner come January. As for the cost -- it's just out of hand, and no manner of explanation can justify it. I'm absolutely floored at the idea of the district spending millions to repave and repaint the parking area at MCS (the lower lot of which, at least, was repaved and repainted this year already). I'm also at a loss to understand the justification for the new, programmable electric sign outside Quester on Rt. 66. Does the HCSD really feel that it needed to spend money to purchase, install, power and maintain that sign when its performance is so poor? Is the logic that the HCSD is somehow competing with the beer store up the road and, therefore, needs an equally garish display? Are these, then, the changes that the Administration and Board believe will finally educate the children they've been unable to serve thus far? I don't think so, and I don't think anyone else does either. Clearly, then, decision making at the HCSD is not in the hands of responsible leaders. Perhaps your idea of a state take-over is a good one. I'd like to know what others in the community think, as well. I'd ask some HCSD teachers if I knew any who lived in the city (besides Lisa Dolan who is doing fantastic work at the reading mentor program).

    2. why are costs out of control. ??

      read the school budget--- the published budgets. hard to follow but it is interesting

      tiffany hamilton approved something like 2000 hours of remedial teaching last year. sounds helpful right ??

      okay so here is the math. each teacher gets $ 47.00 dollars for each teaching hour.

      however, in the notes, and approved, each teacher is paid $ 42.00 dollars an hour for "preparation for class teaching" and is allowed to charge for 8 hours. for 1 hour of teaching !!

      add it up 1 times 47 dollars plus 8 times 42 equals ??? a total of $ 383.00 dollars per teaching hour. !!! its called OVERTIME.

      this is a waste of money. its not really helping anyone but the staff. the hudson city school district is the cash cow that is always milked.
      and the children are actually the ones who suffer. its another scam.

  2. correction according to schooldigger, hudson is ranked 724 out of 756 school systems. thats the bottom 5 %

    go hudson !! its really hard to be this bad

  3. As I've seen happen in two other communities where I lived over the past 15 years, both of which built or expanded new schools only to have fewer students attend, I hope a thorough study is done of the future demographics of this region. In general, and it's simply common sense given the way the population is aging and demographic trends in this region, one would expect that as time goes on, we will be serving fewer students in these schools. Pretty soon we will probably be able to educate them all in a single building (although I am not in favor of that, as I strongly believe in neighborhood schools, but I realize that battle has been lost forever here).

    1. Coincidentally, this article runs today in the Wall Street Journal: "The World’s New Population Time Bomb: Too Few People"