Agenda tweak highlights new year changes

by Judy Stringer

Jan. 17 board of education work session

The Hudson Board of Education will begin to hear pre-scheduled “updates” covering a range of administrative, operational and educational topics at its regular board meetings in an effort to be more “transparent” and “efficient,” according to board President Steve DiMauro.

DiMauro was re-elected as the board’s presiding officer at its Jan. 8 organizational meeting, at which time Alisa Wright also was re-elected as vice president, and new board member Mark Dzurec and returning members Tom Tobin and Laura Jones were sworn into office.

At the work session, DiMauro said the planned updates – on issues like finance, transportation, curriculum and facilities – would be integrated into an expanded “educational focus” portion of the agenda at the beginning of board meetings. Administrators presenting the updates will be asked to talk about not only what is going on in that department/area but the purpose behind the district’s chosen approach and any future plans related to that topic. The focused updates will often be aligned with what the board is being asked to vote on in an upcoming meeting.

“In an ideal world, if you are asking us to approve a five-year forecast, it would be helpful if we heard the five-year forecast the meeting before,” DiMauro said. “It allows us to ask questions and there might be something that arises from that conversation that might prompt [the treasurer] to say ‘OK, there’s one item that in there that perhaps needs to be reconsidered or revised.’”

On the spending side, DiMauro said such an approach would allow the board to see financial outlays in the context of other projects or long-term plans “and not in isolation.”

He also explained that as part of this new topical format, not all of the superintendent’s administrative team would be required to attend each regular meeting.

Another change going forward will be how the district manages public records requests. Those seeking public records can email or fill out a form available on the treasurer’s office webpage, The new system provides a more streamlined intake of requests, said Treasurer Phil Butto, so that they can be logged and time-stamped appropriately. The district will then use Google docs and Google groups to address and archive each response. ∞