GASD says ‘goodbye’ to Superintendent Ramos

Softball team, parents show up to BOE meeting support assist. coach

Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education members look over documents while discussing the 2019-20 school budget that will keep the tax levy the same as this year's budget. (The Leader-Herald/Randy King)

AMSTERDAM — It was a mixed bag of emotions at the Greater Amsterdam School District Board of Education meeting last night at the Amsterdam High School.

The board wasted no time to congratulate and provide a proclamation certificate to district Superintendent Vicky Ramos, who was sitting in on her last board meeting.

“I wanted to thank the Greater Amsterdam School District for the opportunity to be the superintendent,” said Ramos. “When I got this job, I got great advice from a dear friend to be myself and follow the passion of educating children and that truly was my intention with every decision I made.”

As the meeting continued with a bevy of topics, more good news came in the form of a grant approval of $45,000 titled the Education of Homeless Children Youth Program Brand grant.

“What we are looking at are programs to provide enrichment, primarily for our homeless students,” said Assistant Superintendent Michele Downing. “We are excited to look into STEM programs with grades 2 through 8 and are further excited that this allows us to have dedicated caseworkers for our homeless students to be able to get going to CDOS track and keep going with that.”

As the meeting dove further into the financial aspect of the district’s budget the board was presented with several proposals and simple facts. Amsterdam School’s Business Manager Kim Brumley provided a presentation that went on to highlight that the Senate’s budget proposal is to increase school aid over 2018-19, with the major increase going toward state aid, totaling $1.2 billion.

Brumley went on to offer the proposal to keep the tax levy at the 2018-19 level without raising it.

The board went over another proposal to discuss hiring several staff positions which included an elementary guidance counselor, a social worker for Amsterdam High School, three teachers and two custodians.

Concluding the presentation, Brumley suggested that the board use $1 million over the next 10 years on bus purchases since the buses they are currently using have age and mileage working against them.

“We presently have 15 buses and one of them is 2003,” said Brumly. “We are doing the 60 and 30 passenger buses and it is needed because with one bus over 130,000 miles there are seven others that have mile markers over 100,000.”

Before any of these topics were discussed, the board opened for public comments. Emotions were high as several parents of the softball team members, as well as the softball team itself, and head coach Brenden Cetnar all participated.

Each spoke on behalf of three-year volunteer assistant coach Brett Patrei, strongly urging the board’s decision to disallow Patrei to coach the upcoming season to be re-visited.

“We are proud to have him as a coach and he is an excellent asset to the Amsterdam City School District,” said Kim LaMont, parent of current AHS softball player Megan LaMont. “He is needed, he is wanted, and you can see by this room that we are all here voluntarily because we all care about him and want him to be back on the field where he belongs.”

The next school board meeting is April 17.