School Board Letters: From fellow trustees

mic-topIncumbents are dedicated

I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts regarding the Saugerties Central School District budget vote and board trustee election. I share these thoughts as a private citizen.

I will cast my vote for Don Tucker, Richard Petramale and Tom Ham and I will offer the reasons for this choice by giving you a picture of who each of the gentlemen are and the way they serve Saugerties’ students, professional educators, staff and the community at large.

Donald G. Tucker, his wife Barbara and daughter Teresa are Saugerties residents for 45 years. Mr. Tucker is a career police officer with the Saugerties Police Department for the last 38 years. Don Tucker’s service to the community also includes 15 years as a village board trustee, and a member of the Lynch Fire Department. Don serves as chairman of the BOE Audit Committee and a member of the Transportation Committee. He has also served previously as Board of Education president for two years. Don Tucker has always been involved in the greater Saugerties community and “giving back” is evident in his dedication to his family, his professional police service and his commitment to the Saugerties School District. Don provides sound and intelligent fiscal guidance on the Audit Committee and brings professionalism, honesty and solid dedication to the BOE.


Richard Petramale has worked in his family business for 35 years and has an excellent understanding of the students’ needs as well as the needs of Saugerties’ citizens as they struggle to meet the cost of living and taxes for property owners. Rich looks at an entire issue’s pros and cons and contributes to discussions and actions of BOE in a very sincere and meaningful way. Rich is a very productive member of the Visitation and Audit Committees of the BOE and offers knowledge and insight to both of these committees as well as his overall board service. A vote for Richard Petramale is a vote for a dedicated, sincere and thoughtful person who has a passion do the right thing for the students.

Thomas Ham and his family reside in Saugerties. Tom holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and currently he is a senior electrical engineer. Previously he was a CEO of an Avionics start-up organization and director of engineering for 20 years. Tom has been unanimously elected as the board’s vp for the past five years. Tom believes in giving back to the community and in addition to BOE service, he currently coaches a special needs soccer team for community children. Tom brings a pragmatic approach to the problems facing the school district. He respects the structure of the district and always works within that structure to assess and solve problems, while providing positive, student-focused change. Tom is chairman of the Visitation Committee, which deals with plant management in all of our schools as well as being the chair the Governance Committee.

As I work with these three candidates, I see intelligent, high-quality and caring members of our special Saugerties community. The record and contributions these three men bring to board service is evident in their leadership, honesty, sincerity and community spirit, in the endeavor to provide excellent education to all students and a commitment to the greater community.

Flo Hyatt


The writer is a Saugerties School Board trustee.


Personal and professional experience

We add our names to those supporting the new Saugerties School Board Candidates Raymond “Mike” Maclary, Robert Thomann, and James Mooney.

There have been public statements opposing the election of professionals. With a special needs budget of over $8.5 million, who wouldn’t want a professional with direct experience in the education of those with special needs? With an instructional teaching budget of over $16.6 million, who wouldn’t want a teacher with experience in curriculum development and working within budgetary constraints? With an instruction and improvement budget of over $1.3 million, who wouldn’t want a professional with experience in monitoring and the oversight of laws and codes?

These candidates bring personal and professional experience to the table and offer new vision and insight to the School Board. As new School Board members, we experienced firsthand the treatment of new “agents responsible for establishing appraisal of educational matters and activities” (Board Policy #1110). We find these gentlemen to be the perfect candidates to breathe new life, energy, and insight into the School Board’s role and responsibility “to carry out the will of the people of its District in matters of education.”

Please join us and vote for Saugerties School Board Candidates Raymond “Mike” Maclary, Robert Thomann, and James Mooney.

Krista Barringer

Damion Ferraro


The writers are trustees on the Saugerties School Board.


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

This week, voters will be going to the polls to elect three School Board members. Below are some of the accomplishments of incumbent trustees Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Rich Petramale:

An absolutely unblemished record of transparency, with all board meetings audio and videotaped and made available to the public as well as pertinent information with respect to board meetings, such as meeting agendas, being posted on the district’s website;

Installation of an auto-dialer which allows the district to contact all parents expeditiously by telephone or e-mail in order to convey information concerning important issues, school closings and/or emergencies (the district now mails approximately five newsletters per year to every household in the district in order to keep the public informed of school matters on a fresher basis, rather than annually);

Worked with Superintendent Turner to bring the District from a $1.6-million dollar deficit to a surplus and received “cleanest audit” external auditor, Churchill, could give a school district;

Kept the tax levy below the 2 percent cap over the last three years, with no negative consequences to the students nor curriculum;

Settled all employee contracts and hired competent administrators (superintendent [Turner] and assistant superintendent, business officers, principals and assistant principals);

Ended nepotism and favoritism that had existed in the district and hired personnel based up on qualifications;

Oversaw all major school renovations such as new roofs, removal of underground oil tanks, repaired and/or replaced boiler system, septic system and security upgrades;

Volunteered hundreds of hours to attend board and committee meetings and contract negotiations, as well as numerous hours outside the conduct of meetings in preparation therefore; and

Approved every new program for students submitted by the administration, such as: new courses for accelerated students in English and environmental science and a college English course aligned with Ulster County Community College; and a course for SAT preparation (in participation with BOCES).

The three incumbent board members up for re-election were recently praised by trustee Flo Hyatt (who, herself, has more than 20 years’ experience on BOCES and school boards), stating that “Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Rich Petramale have proven to be some of the most passionate, dedicated, honest and hard-working persons that I’ve work alongside of yet and we work well together.”

Continue an exemplary record of transparency and accomplishments by re-electing Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Richard Petramale. They are very passionate individuals who truly care about the children getting the best education that can be offered while keeping an eye on the spending at the same time.

George Heidcamp


The writer is president of the Saugerties School Board.


Experience matters

I urge all voters to re-elect Don Tucker, Tom Ham and Richard Petramale to the Board of Education on May 19.

I have had the privilege working with these gentlemen almost continuously over the last several years as both board members and as board committees. Currently, Tom chairs visitation (facilities) Committee with Rich and myself as members.

Tom’s engineering and Riche’s Business backgrounds have been valuable assets in dealing with prospective contracts for the district. Don chairs the audit committee and received well deserved accolades along with our business manager Lissa Jilek, from our external auditors when Mr. Churchill reported Saugerties had the cleanest audit he has seen in years.


The gentlemen, with others, have endured some severe financial difficulties inherited with the departure of a previous administration. A combination of physical mismanagement and reductions of state aid in past years required some very hard choices. Fortunately, these gentlemen play major role in righting the ship.

Again, I urge all voters to continue our District progress by returning these individuals to their positions on the Saugerties School Board. Din Tucker, Tom Ham and Richard Petramale.

Chuck Schirmer