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Opinion
School Closings
Academy at Rensselaer Education Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsAcademy of the Holy Names: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements & Kids Express Mplwood: Delayed 2 Hrs, no before careAchievements St Kateri Tekakwitha: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements and Kids Express TBGC: Delayed 2 HrsAesthetic Science Institute: Delayed 2 Hrs, Classes begin at 11 amAmbleside School: Delayed 2 HrsAmsterdam City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastAmsterdam Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAn Nur Islamic School: Delayed 2 HrsArgyle CSD: Delayed 2 HrsAugustine Classical Academy: ClosedAverill Park CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBallston Spa CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerlin CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESBest Fitness (Albany): Delayed, No Evening Classes, All Classes Cancelled, Club Open All GX and Spinning classes canceledBest Fitness (Schenectady): Delayed, No Evening Classes, All Classes Cancelled, Club Open All GX and Spinning classes canceledBethlehem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBroadalbin-Perth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No PTECH, AgTECH, TEC-SMARTBrown School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Morning PLUS ProgramBrunswick (Brittonkill) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBrunswick Children's Academy: Delayed 2 HrsBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, 2-hour delay (final)Butterfly Dreams Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9:30 amCairo-Durham CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESCanajoharie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESCapital Reg Career & Tech (Albany): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCatholic Central HS: Delayed 2 HrsCatskill CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KChatham CSD: Delayed 2 HrsChatham Kids Club: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 8:30Circle Of Friends (Delmar): Delayed 2 Hrs, Wrap around delayed 2 hoursCobleskill Campus Child Care Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9AMCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, Offices open at 9 a.m.Cohoes City SD: Delayed 2 HrsColonie Youth Centers: Open, No BSPColumbia Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsCorinth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastCoxsackie-Athens CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastCrossroads Center for Children: Delayed 2 Hrs, Day Care open @ 9:00Crown Point CSD: Delayed 2 HrsDoane Stuart School: Delayed 2 HrsDolgeville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastDuanesburg CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Center: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Ctr-Troy: Delayed 2 HrsEast Greenbush CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEco Baby Daycare & Preschool: Delayed 2 HrsEdinburg Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsExecutive Woods Childcare: Delayed 2 HrsFaith Bible Academy: Delayed 2 HrsFirst Friends Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, Enrichment program begins at 1130amFonda-Fultonville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESFort Plain CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Elem recognition breakfast moved to ThursdayFranklin County Technical SD: Delayed 2 HrsFulmont St Johnsville Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportFulton-Montgomery CC: Delayed 2 Hrs, Campus will open at 10 am.Gabriel Abbott Memorial School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No morning daycareGalway CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGeorge Washington School: Delayed 2 HrsGermantown CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGilboa-Conesville CSD: ClosedGlens Falls City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESGlens Falls Common SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGloversville City SD: Delayed 2 HrsGrapeville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsGreen Island UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGreen Tech High Charter School: Delayed 2 HrsGreenbush Child Caring: Open, No AM ProgramGreene County YMCA: Open, No Morning ClassesGreenfield Public Schools: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KGreenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGreenwich CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESGuilderland CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESHFM Career & Tech Center: Delayed 2 HrsHadley-Luzerne CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastHappy Kids Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsHawthorne Valley School: Delayed 2 HrsHelderberg Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsHelping Hands Pre-School: Delayed, No Morning ClassesHometown Health Center: Delayed 2 HrsHoosick Falls CSD: Delayed 2 HrsHunter-Tannersville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsImmaculate Conception (Glenville): Open, 9:00 am mass cancelledJohnstown City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESJubilee Child Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsKid Kampus: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 8:30AMKim's Kids Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastKingston City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Kingston SD is on a 2 hr delay no AM BOCESLa Salle Institute (Troy): Delayed 2 HrsLakeside Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolLansingburgh CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Breakfast, Lansingburgh CSD is operating on a 2 hour delayLatham Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KLearning To Know Educational Center: Delayed 1-1/2 HrsLiberty Ent/ Montgomery Co. ARC: Delayed 2 HrsLife Kids Before/ After School: Open, No AM ProgramLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. Greenbush Little Red School: Delayed 2 HrsNew Lebanon CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNew Paltz CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Malta: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Queensbury: Delayed 2 HrsNiskayuna CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorthville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastNotre Dame-Bishop Gibbons: Delayed 2 HrsO.K. Kids, Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsOak Hill School: Delayed 2 HrsOnteora CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESOur Savior's Lutheran School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-SchoolOur World Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 10:45 a.m.Parsons Early Head Start Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMParsons Early Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMPine Plains CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPineview Comm Church Pre-School: Delayed 1 Hr, open at 8:30Prospect Center: Delayed 2 HrsPumpkin Patch (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsQueensbury UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESQuestar III BOCES - Sarah's Sisters: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Catskill Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Rensselaer Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, Q3 New Vision is closedRavena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESRed Hook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRensselaer City SD: Delayed 2 HrsRhinebeck CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRiverRun Community Montessori: ClosedRosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, RCS is now delayed 2 hrs - roads are in worse shape then expected. Stay off the side roads until treated , drive carefully today January 18Salem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: Delayed 2 HrsShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Pius X School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSullivan BOCES: Delayed 2 Hrs, The Adult Program and Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Delayed, No early drop off. School Starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrVictory Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 HrsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESWheelerville UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): Delayed 2 HrsWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWorcester CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Schenectady): Delayed, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am

Information needed on what legislative bodies are up to

Information needed on what legislative bodies are up to

The first 2013 Schenectady County budget proposal presented to the Legislature last fall called for

The first 2013 Schenectady County budget proposal presented to the Legislature last fall called for a larger-than-usual tax increase and triggered loud negative reactions from many, including the Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce.

Commenting on the reactions at the November county legislative meeting, Legislator Philip Fields noted that when a frog is placed in very hot water, it jumps out. But when the frog is placed in cool water that is then heated to a much higher temperature, the frog stays in the water.

He suggested that the reaction to the first 2013 budget proposal was in part due to it calling for a sudden and steeper tax increase on the heels of more modest budgets and tax increases in the preceding three years. He maintained that had the Legislature increased budgets incrementally over the previous three years to reach the level proposed in the initial 2013 budget, there would probably have been much greater public acceptance of it.

The Fields Dictum

A look at the public reaction to both new and long-established practices in city and county government supports this “Fields Dictum.” As long as what is going on in local government is seen as ordinary, routine or what’s been done all along, it gets no attention from voters, the media or local advocacy groups.

The Fields Dictum was seen at work in the reaction to the practice of Democrats on the City Council holding party meetings behind closed doors, excluding the media, the public and Vince Riggi — the only non-Democrat on the City Council. This new practice spurred intense newspaper coverage and a strong negative public reaction, resulting in Peggy King, the new City Council president, pledging not to have such party meetings.

Yet for many years the county Legislature’s Democratic members have held such closed party meetings. In line with the Fields Dictum, this established practice gets no public attention. The state’s Open Meetings Law mandates “. . . public business be performed in an open and public manner. . .” while at the same time exempting from these requirements the “. . .deliberations of political committees, conferences and caucuses. . . .”

Holly Vellano, elected to the county Legislature on the Conservative Party line, regularly caucuses with her 13 Democratic colleagues at these party meetings. There has been no public reaction to this practice nor followup with the state Committee on Open Government to determine if an elected Conservative legislator’s attending the closed meetings of Democratic legislators means these meetings no longer qualify as party caucuses exempted from the Open Meetings Law. Now James Buhrmaster, the lone Republican on the county Legislature, is the only legislator excluded.

It is important for the public to be told who attends these meetings as guests, how often meetings are held, who leads them and how decisions are agreed upon, because the public meetings of the county Legislature are now mostly scripted political theater performed to create a public record and to keep voters at ease.

Actual decisions are being made outside of the county’s public legislative meetings and outside of the public’s view.

Nursing home decision

A review of the public legislative role in the decision to build and operate a new county nursing home in Glendale is revealing.

Early on in the process, Susan Savage, then chair of the Legislature, created a Glendale Home Subcommittee with Karen Johnson and Brian Gordon as co-chairs.

This subcommittee was given no charge by Savage as to what it was to do, no list of issues it was to consider, no goals it was to meet, and no timetable for making any reports. Membership of the Glendale Home Subcommittee, as well as the two standing committees to which it reports, is the full Legislature of 15 members. There is no public record of this committee — or of the two standing committees to which it reports — ever having met.

This subcommittee held one hearing for public input at the Glendale Home. The record of this hearing is a video recording available through a Freedom of Information request to the clerk of the Legislature.

Remarkably, the Legislature’s website continues to include the Glendale Home Subcommittee with its two co-chairs, thus giving the public the impression of it actually functioning and having a purpose.

It does not.

More remarkable is that the membership of this Glendale Home Subcommittee (all 15 county legislators) is the same as the structure of every other committee of the Legislature. Legislators’ comments made at monthly public committee meetings are often highly partisan and are repeated at length a week later at the meeting of the Legislature. Now the Legislature’s committees are of very limited public value.

While the Open Meetings Law prescribes that, “. . . public business be performed in an open and public manner. . .,” in fact it is too often carried out in what is at best a quasi-public manner very similar to other businesses of comparable size.

The Fields Dictum is supported when contrasting the strong negative reaction to the new practice of the City Council’s Democrats holding party meetings to the general indifference to a similar ongoing practice at the county Legislature.

Coverage is criticaL

The newspaper coverage given to one and lacking in the other is critical to understanding the different outcomes.

The Gazette’s Kathleen Moore, reporting on the city’s new practice, was critical to the public learning about and reacting to it. Such reporting falls to the print media and rests on reporters developing an in-depth knowledge of both the local issues and the people moving these issues.

As newspaper circulation and revenues continue to shrink, local reporting staffs are reduced and remaining reporters have more to cover.

Too often local reporting must rely on reworking or quickly following up on some press releases issued by government. Concerned voters are less well-informed as a result. Sadly, the weekly paper The Spotlight has now discontinued circulation and reporting in Schenectady County.

Their Schenectady reporter, John Purcell, is to be reassigned — a further loss for newspaper-reading voters.

Elmer Bertsch lives in Niskayuna. The Gazette encourages readers to submit material on local issues for the Sunday Opinion section.

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