Another Wynantskill BOE Meeting, Another Wynantskill Letdown.
Last night, July 8, the Wynantskill Board of Education held another Special Meeting. It was one of many that have been held since June 2013, according to the District’s website. The Board of Education members present included Board President, Andrea Paone, Board Vice President, Ann Marsh, Board member, Andrew Lanesey, and Business Consultant, Gail Lathrop; missing from the meeting were Board members Christina Curran and Matt Hug, and Superintendent/Principal, Lisa Henkel.
The crowd consisted mostly of anxiously awaiting parents and teachers along with several concerned community members, all of whom were hoping the Board was going to deliver the news that Dr. Lisa Henkel would be placed on leave. Speculation among the crowd was buzzing that an announcement of the leave was the reason behind the meeting being called; However, no one could say for sure based on the very vague agenda posted on the district website the day prior.
The Board meeting was scheduled to start at 7:00 pm, but Board members did not enter the Gardner Dickinson Library to open the public session until 7:20 pm. The agenda that was distributed among the crowd did not match the online agenda and did not include the 2.1 Employment item, as bulleted on the original agenda, nor a section for public comment. What it did include was the following 2.1 item; “As requested by the Futures Education Independent Consultant, the Board rescinds the resolution from July 29, 2013 appointing the Consultant to perform Special Education and RtI study and therefore instruct the District Treasurer to not increase the budget appropriations to cover the $5,000 cost.” The official statement from the Board was that a contractual agreement could not be reached between the two parties consequently leaving the Board to look at hiring choice #2 or #3, or possibly reopening the search altogether.
Approximately 10 minutes after the explanation for rescinding the Special Education and Rtl consultant was delivered, at 7:30 pm, the Board made a motion to enter into Executive Session. This was the kickoff to the long waiting game that ensued for the meeting attendees. The crowd of parents, teachers, and community members were in disbelief at what they had just witnessed. The frustrated crowd of attendees continued to wait for another hour and 20 minutes until 8:50 pm, when the district clerk was given the directive from the Board to make the announcement that the “Board would not be making any public motions upon return from Executive Session to the public forum.” This was when the majority of the crowd called it a night and decided to leave. Some lingered for a while longer before they also decided the waiting was becoming a bit much. The Board officially returned from Executive Session at 10:01 pm, at which time, the public meeting was also immediately adjourned. Not a word was said to the four remaining individuals waiting in the Library about the discussion that had just taken place for the past two and a half hours.
The Wynantskill community has been on edge and on high alert for the past several weeks due to major concerns over school district leader, Dr. Lisa Henkel. The community wants answers and wants action. Many are worried for the start of the new school year since the first day back is right around the corner. Another Special Meeting was just posted and is scheduled for Wednesday, August 14, 7:30pm, one day before the regularly scheduled monthly Board meeting.
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