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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 26, 2010

BKW vandalism report: $30K for cleanup

By Zach Simeone

BERNE — Berne-Knox-Westerlo will pay close to $30,000 to clean up the vandalism by four seniors in June, but district residents will not have to foot the bill, according to Superintendent Paul Dorward.

At its Aug. 16 meeting, the school board learned that the district will have to spend an estimated $29,700.53 for cleanup of the motor oil that was poured over the halls at the end of the school year, resulting in school being cancelled for a day.

“The costs will be borne by the insurance company,” Dorward said this week. “Those are estimated costs, so that’s subject to change,” he said, adding that the district will have to pay a $1,000 deductable.

In June, the New York State Police arrested four seniors for the vandalism: Cody Locci, 17, of East Berne; Joseph Vitetta, 18, of Westerlo; Korey Mann, 17, of East Berne; and Zachary Hallenbeck, 18, of East Berne. They were each charged with third-degree burglary, a felony.

They had allegedly entered the middle-high school on the morning of June 9, pouring oil on the floors, causing damage to furniture, and writing graffiti on windows and lockers. There were no obvious signs of forced entry, police said.

Retirements and resignations

Also at its Aug. 16 meeting, the school board approved retirements and accepted letters of resignations for:

— Denise Martin, district clerk;

— Richard Hallenbeck, a middle-high school technology teacher;

— Linda Berquist, an English and alternative education teacher in the middle-high school;

— James Gillis, an elementary physical-education teacher;

— Ellen Grasek, district treasurer;

— Diane Murray, high-school guidance secretary;

— Beth Canale, middle-school special education teacher;

— Marjorie Renko, a bus monitor;

— Denise Robinson as keyboard specialist;

— Lisa Ortiz;

— and Helen McGivern.

Other business

In other business at its Aug. 16 meeting, the school board:

— Appointed Elementary Principal Brian Corey as special-education director for the 2010-11 school year;

— Created the position of special-education assistant, and appointed Denise Robinson to the post;

— Appointed Fred Marcil as physical-education director;

— Appointed Dean Brian Keller and Thomas Galvin as co-directors of physical education for 2010-11;

— Re-instated Maria Tedeschi as a keyboard specialist;

— Agreed to have Maureen Sikule, school board president, replace board member Carolyn Anderson as the delegate for the New York State School Boards Association convention;

— Discussed developing a policy on school board members attending a meeting via video-chat from outside the district. The discussion stemmed from board member Anderson’s attending a school board meeting in May on Skype while in Utah. While the board was aware that such meetings must legally be advertised in both locations, there was discussion of whether a meeting should be cancelled if the audio or video feed fails in one of the two locations; whether the meeting should take place if there are expenses to be borne by the out-of-town board member; and what to do in situations where the board wants to go into executive session.

The discussion was tabled so that the district could look further into the legal aspects of the topic, and;

— Accepted a $250 donation from the historical societies of Berne and Knox, to be put towards fourth-grade field trips to study local history.

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