Monday, December 20, 2021

News from HCSD

The Hudson City School District Board of Education meets tomorrow, Tuesday, December 21, at 6:00 p.m., in the Jr./Sr. High School Cafeteria. Despite rising COVID numbers, it is an in-person meeting, with no opportunity to attend the meeting virtually.

At the meeting, the board was supposed to meet prospective candidates for the seat on the board left vacant by the resignation of board president Carrie Otty. The deadline for expressing interest in serving on the board was December 15, and it seems no one expressed interest. 

Last Thursday, the Columbia Paper published Jeanette Wolfberg's report on the previous meeting of HCSD Board of Education, which took place on December 7: "Pandemic takes toll on school behavior." The following is the lede from that article:
Reports of injury, body piercing, racial provocation, absenteeism, staffing shortages, sanitation shortfalls and other challenges emerged from accounts described at the Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education meeting December 7.
HCSD superintendent Maria Suttmeier's retirement begins in eleven days, on December 31, and there is yet no word that a new superintendent has been chosen or hired.


  1. A thoroughly depressing and somewhat disgusting report. There really can be no doubt that the HCSD is a failing institution. Is there a method for a state takeover? Particularly in light of the fact that local parents aren't willing to give the district the time of day? The time may be coming when the taxpayers revolt over the complete lack of performance by the district. So it's not too far-fetched to conceive that the district can't attract a decent superintendent candidate as seems to be the case.

  2. Sounds like rock and roll high school gone to hell!

  3. A failing and extremely expensive institution at 31 thousand per student. Hudsonites and the students are being taken to the cleaners.

  4. A big thanks to Ms. Wolfberg for the reporting on issues facing the school district- no doubt this has been a challenging year for teachers, students, and administrators. We should all be grateful she took the time to do the reporting, without which some of us might be totally unaware of the daily challenges.

    Which does bring up, as Carole mentions, the issue of the School Board's curious choice, at a time when most public agencies are switching to remote access for meetings, to hold meetings in-person only.

    There's a lot going on at the school board meetings right now, from a vacancy on the board itself (and after this year's school board elections, we need reasoned, engaged people more than ever) to the hiring of a new superintendent, all taking place with the challenges of Covid. Parents and community members who want Hudson's kids to have the best opportunities possible should be able to safely engage with the school board, which means remote access is a must. Ms. Wolfberg shouldn't have to put her life on the line just so members of the Hudson community can keep abreast of local happenings.

    So please, HCSD Board members, step up your game and make the safety of your community and the transparency of your body a priority. Allow parents and community members to attend meetings remotely. Believe me, if City Hall can clear this bar, you can do it, too.

  5. Part 1 on the HCSD
    The Hudson School Board does not care if anyone is risking their health to attend those meeting. Transparency is their enemy and they know it is crazy to attend a meeting like that right now. And as far as the current news reporting on the school system, well let’s just say that the “official papers of record” are usually quite reliable PR tools for the BOE. I was shocked to see some truth spill out of that meeting from one of those outlets. And honestly, the state of the school disgusted me. It described chaos, anarchy and bedlam, indecency and more.. At a recent Board meeting I attended there was mention of some disgusting and dangerous things that had taken place on the sidelines of an outdoor football game…..the public was not told what it was about precisely. But from the look on the BOE faces it must have been something truly awful. The news I saw yesterday makes it clear it was not dealt with properly. So, John Kane is right……lift the veil BOE and let us watch what you are doing to deal with this TOTAL MESS. Broadcast your proceedings. And put the bill for this in the next massive budget you are already cooking up.
    There is no doubt though that the HCSD needs to be placed in receivership and under firm control of the State. It has been before. I have been pounding this drum for 3 years. Trying to get people to rescue the kids from the nutty mess that runs that school system. Now that it has reached a point of danger to all it is time for an intervention.
    Hidden in recent Board meetings is the BOE’s “disappointment” that they will only be allowed to raise the annual budget by 2% next Spring. It’s a complicated formula that results in a simple result….greater taxes and less education. And yes, the budget process has begun, is spelled out in great detail on the website BUT there is not one single plan laid out in detail on how to get the school to become a proper school again. This is how it works there, one half of the year is used to spend the $53,000,000 they get from us every year (this year they got more and I refer you to my column of May this year on Gossips). The second half of the year is spent devising a pan and a budget to get more of your money. This leaves teachers and of course the kids, wondering what the priorities of this District are. Hence, off the cliff the whole thing has gone.

  6. Part 2 on the HCSD
    This has all been caused by a dozen years of incompetence at the top of the Board and the HCSD. They truly thought that if they built a new giant stadium, pushed away those who disagree with them and turned themselves into a real estate company that no one would notice the academic and discipline hole they are in.
    Last year, at the school budget and Board vote, barely anyone turned out. And the write-in votes were greater in total than the votes anyone in real life got. People wrote in fake names.
    I have tried to build a community of support to help address these issues but have gotten ZERO support. But I refuse to give up. I am a proud HHS graduate. To now see that the place has become the mess that it has is sad, at best.
    We can still help these kids. We can still make Hudson proud again of its school system but we need to fire EVERYONE first……..hire true leaders to replace them…..get the budget under control and more importantly start some form of outreach to the teachers who are in distress and the parents who are struggling, obviously. The community should push the BOE aside and meet first with the teachers and then with parent and then with the older kids who are seeking wisdom and solutions. The words diploma and discipline should be the first items on that agenda. But ultimately, we should let the kids know that help is on the way. Let’s just start by getting the BOE to broadcast their mess to the District. Then we can all decide what to do and who else to fire. It is that simple. It’s time for a community takeover. And it is also time for the kids to respect their teachers and each other and to understand that we can only help those who want to join together in an atmosphere of respect. If you show us this, we can be there to help you achieve a bright future.
    This year let’s say no to the school, budget and send out a booming signal of distress.
    Ken Sheffer

  7. No one has expressed any interest in why the two best friends are both leaving at the same time. This was an alliance that did not have the student interest in heart from the get go. And now they are both running out the door at the same time.

  8. Principal – When you have designed, built, managed and had cocktails on deck of the ship and voyage called Titanic, you must, as the ship starts to split in half and sink, say to each other “you jump, I jump.” Both have finished their careers in unison, with secret agreements of all kinds. No focus on academic discipline and zero interest in community input (you know, the people who pay their bills!) You know their tactics well. Carrie Otty was not qualified to be President of that Board to begin with. Jumping ship was their only way to survive in a City that now understands that they screwed it all up. What’s left is a school in chaos and in meltdown. I mean, piercings in the bathrooms, come on. But the duo had time a few years ago to engrave the Galvan name permanently on the dedication stone on the new plastic athletic field behind the High School. Galvan gave about $225,000 to that field and the taxpayers gave $22 million. I think Galvan donated to keep the steeple chase equipment alive. What?????? So now, we have 2 names in gratitude for the new field, Galvan and the Hudson taxpayers. It hardly gets more gross than that. Is that who we really thank for the hundreds of millions we put in for the school district? It is gratuitous at best and demeans hard working taxpayers. I suggest someone check Galvan’s payroll in about a month. I wish the new leader at HCSD great luck but it is going to take joining with the community who fund the schools to find solutions. Perhaps even a deep dive by James Cameron could be used…..cuz somewhere on the bottom of the ocean floor is the old HCSD. Final grade for the duo……F minus, plus one moreminus. I can’t even grade how low they took the District. But now let’s focus on getting the kids the A+ they deserve and out in the world achieving, creating, dreaming and above all seeking wisdom to help with all the issues we face today. We can do it together and as a community we are ready to be called on. Ken Sheffer

  9. So the current Superintendent is leaving December 31st. The new Superintendent starts February 1st. What's the plan for the two months of non-leadership? Or will no one even notice?