Letter: Saugerties voters beware

letter warningI offer the following as a private citizen.

As school elections approach there seems to be misinformation being intentionally circulated around by certain individuals that needs clarification.

Incumbents Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Rich Petramale will be facing three new challengers in hopes of unseating them. One, being an active school teacher in Kingston, a current principal in another district, and a former restaurant owner. They claim the current Board of Education and superintendent aren’t listening to the parents and they are frustrated their concerns and questions are not being addressed. With all due respect, I totally disagree.

Read all of this week’s school letters in the print edition, on newsstands May 7-13.


I’ve held the position of board president for the past six years and I can assure everyone that not one single person has ever been denied their right to speak during public comment period by the BoE. District policy adopted by the BoE allows speakers three minutes to voice their concerns regarding agenda items and a second public comment period allow anyone to voice any issue they desire. The BoE has never denied a request from a speaker for extra time to finish their concerns. However, during a recent board meeting special-interest activist Jen Mangione posted on Facebook that I was “rude” because I advised her the three minutes had expired.. I even gave her the courtesy of asking her if she needed more time to finish, she replied, “you are something else.” I advised her I was just doing my job following policy. This can be verified by watching the videotape which is available for the public.

Just because the board members don’t comment on every issue that’s brought before the board doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.

In fact, in every single instance where parents and/or special interest groups have addressed the BoE with their concerns, Superintendent Turner has always advised them to please follow District policy 3220 which says in part:

Any complaints or concerns regarding school operations should first be addressed to the appropriate school staff members or officials before being brought to the board. This will allow the concern to be dealt with by those who have the authority and information to deal with their concerns, in those instances where the matter cannot be resolved by a teacher, coach or other school employee, complaints should be made to the building principal.

If the complaint and/or related concerns are not resolved at this level to the satisfaction of the complaint, the complaint may be brought to the attention of the superintendent.

If the complaint and/or related concerns are not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant at the superintendent’s level, the complainant may submit a written complaint to the Board of Education.

This policy is made available on the table for the public at every board meeting in additions to being posted on the district’s website.

In addition to resolving the parents “sit and stare” complaint, Superintendent Turner instructed his building principals that any parent who chose to opt out their child to have the teachers assess what’s in the best interest of that child and give the child an instructional assignment to avoid the child from sitting doing nothing. This will be more beneficial to the child to learn while sitting there.

I feel the BoE and the superintendent has properly addressed everyone’s concerns in accordance with district policy and truly believe this election is more about outing the board president and Superintendent than anything else by certain members of this special-interest group… All one has to do is go on Facebook and read the negative mean-spirited comments being posted by their supporters including the spouse of one of the candidates against Mr. Turner. It’s obvious to me that they have a hidden agenda, that being, oust Mr. Turner and possibly other administrators. There’s no doubt they will deny this, however, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. You be the judge.

I urge voters not to sit this one out and get out and vote, if you stay home and don’t vote, we risk the possibility of losing our superintendent and possibly state and federal aid that will end up costing taxpayers dearly. Vote for the incumbents Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Rich Petramale.

George Heidcamp


The writer is president of the Saugerties School Board.