Melissa Hale-Spencer

The school board will move ahead with setting up a task force — of citizen volunteers and staff — to investigate ways to use excess space in the district’s schools.

The town lost an exuberant 12-year-old, Emmit Stannard, to brain cancer as well as long-time leader Myra Dorman, but life hummed with a new cycling festival and a gala to mark the fire department's 75th anniversary.

Facing a much smaller budget gap for 2015-16, most Guilderland School Board members want to beef up the fund balance they have dipped into recently to keep taxes under the state-set cap.

GUILDERLAND — The next step in solving the school district’s problem of too much space for too few students will likely be the appointment of a citizens’ task force to study different ways of repurposing some classrooms.

After hearing protests, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School Board agreed not to wait for a new superintendent to hire a new high school principal but it stopped short of forgoing its traditional selection process.

BERNE — At the darkest time of the year, nine hundred people stood shoulder to shoulder, holding candles and singing. Snow fell lightly Monday night, the flakes turning wet as they landed on faces and mittens and boots while the crowd stood in front of the elementary school at Berne.

They were there to mourn a little boy the vast majority of them did not know. Kindergartner Kenneth White was slain in his home last Thursday, police said, his body pitched over the snow bank across from the trailer where he lived with his twin sister and their younger sister. The 19-year-old daughter of their aunt and legal guardian stands accused of murder. Tiffany VanAlstyne, too, had once attended the school where the crowd gathered.

The town judge treated them like human beings, say elderly Stannard sisters who have a sense of freedom now that charges stemming from their housing too many stray cats have been adjourned.

"The worst thing you can do is make no decision," the vice president of the school board told his colleagues as they wrestled with reams of public opinion on how to solve the problem of too much space for too few students.

GUILDERLAND — Brenda McClaine, who was treasurer of the Guilderland Teachers’ Association when she stole over $100,000 from the union, no longer works for the Guilderland School District.

In exchange for her resignation, the school board agreed to withdraw the disciplinary charges the superintendent had filed against McClaine, to pay the district portion of her health insurance until June 30, 2015, and also to allow her two fifth-grade children to finish out their school year free of charge.

Those responsible for websites for Albany County, the town of Guilderland, and Guilderland schools found both fault and value in this fall's statewide survey by an Albany think tank.


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