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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, February 26, 2009

Weisz, Barber to lead school board

By Melissa Hale-Spencer

GUILDERLAND — “Communication is the big issue,” said Richard Weisz after being elected to a fourth one-year term as president of the Guilderland School Board.

All eight school board members present at the July 6 re-organizational meeting voted for Weisz. He had been narrowly elected to a fourth three-year term on the board in May in a five-way race for three seats.

Weisz had taken the heat last summer when the board left a packed meeting hall — filled with students protesting the transfer of two popular teachers from the high school to the middle school — to discuss the matter in closed session.

And this past spring he had persuaded the board to include full-day kindergarten in next year’s budget, despite advice to the contrary from members of a citizens’ budget committee worried about tough times. Weisz had said the budget vote would serve as a referendum on the move from a half-day kindergarten program. The $85 million budget passed.

Weisz told The Enterprise, after the July 6 meeting that his goal in the upcoming year is to “try to involve everybody” as the district faces new requirements, and state and federal aid issues.

Weisz, who works as a lawyer, had said he was running for another term because he believed his expertise could be useful in difficult economic times.

The exit poll from the budget vote, he said, shows the public has some inaccurate information and a “healthy dialogue” is needed.

“I agree with Dick,” said the board’s new vice president, Catherine Barber. “Communication is key.”

Barber, a musician and lawyer, was elected vice president in a split vote. Five members voted, on written ballots, for Barber and three for Barbara Fraterrigo, the board’s longest-serving member.

John Dornbush, who had previously served as vice president, was absent. He died on July 8 of cancer.

Barber told The Enterprise that last year the board made “a great start” by holding a community forum to gauge public reaction on budget priorities. She hopes to repeat the forum again this year.


The board made these appointments and designations at its annual re-organizational meeting:

— Linda Livingston was appointed district clerk at a stipend of $5,605. She was also appointed district deputy treasurer with no additional compensation;

— Joy Pierle was appointed district treasurer at a stipend of $3,780;

— Norma Henness was appointed tax collector for the towns of Knox and New Scotland at a stipend of $1,000;

— Donna Jurczynski was appointed internal claims auditor at a rate of $16 per hour;

— Josephine Polsinelli was appointed to conduct bank reconciliations at a rate of $14 per hour;

— The firm of Girvin and Ferlazzo was appointed as legal counsel for an annual retainer fee of $35,000;

— John Bevilacqua was appointed as consulting school physician for an annual rate of $3,000;

— Bonadio & Co., LLP was appointed for the annual audit with $21,000 budgeted for the service;

— Questar III BOCES was appointed internal auditor to conduct a risk assessment at an estimated cost of $10,575;

The Daily Gazette and The Altamont Enterprise & Albany County Post were designated official newspapers; and

— First Niagara Commercial Bank was designated as the official depository.

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