Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Could we really see the day when the Kingston High School campus is closed? Somebody pinch me! It’s like someone turned the light on in an otherwise dark and uninterested School Board meeting.

The residents in portions of Ward Nine and Five have suffered long enough with the full day of off-campus students wandering around our homes.
Speeding, Parking, Litter and verbal confrontation with local homeowners are common place. Parents of students whom live in Hurley, Zena and Esopus haven’t a clue what their children do off-campus and in our backyards.

Keeping the students on school property will require a bigger lunch facility. At present, juniors and seniors are allowed to eat lunch off campus because the school does not have the necessary cafeteria space to accommodate its student body of more than 2,000.

This nomadic tribe of hungry students, wander our neighborhoods every school day, bringing the property values down and increasing the driving hazards on our side streets. To the right is a picture of a car wreck on Andrew St from last Thursday around 11am. The young man, speeding, hit his girlfriend’s car and totaled his. The only injuries were to his father’s insurance rates. The main question? Why are they off-campus during the school day?

School Board member Jim Shaughnessy said he will ask the BOE to set aside $26,500 for a study of the school properties regarding space and usage administered by CS Arch, the Albany-based management consultant. Daniel Woodside, the company’s representative suggested an initial study of the school's cafeteria and kitchen, instead of the future Grand Plan for the district. Super Gretzinger, pictured at left, agrees as well.

I agree with all three of them. Get the cafeteria expansion issue out there, get it funded, and get it done. The residents, law enforcement, and us lawmakers will greatly appreciate it and with less opportunity to mix-it-up with the wrong element off-campus, students will learn more.

The Board meeting was Wednesday at 7pm at Zena Elementary.


Anonymous said...

"This nomadic tribe of hungry varmints, infest our neighborhoods every school day, bringing the property values down"

Nothing like stereotyping. Could you imagine if someone said all gays leaving the LBQT center for lunch, infesting uptown and bringing property values down? How would you feel about that Mike?

MOST of the kids that leave campus, stay on Broadway, go get lunch and go back to school without incident.

Have you thought about how the businesses around the High School would suffer? I guess you want more empty store fronts in you ward.

If this posting is any example of the thought you put into being an Alderman, I am rethinking my vote next time.

Mike Madsen said...

Well anonymous, no-one is willing to open upscale shops in this area because of the school and the open campus.

No realtor in their right mind has a showing in our neighborhood while school is open and the proximity of the school lowered our assessments.

The gay & Lesbian community has been shown to increase property values from coast to coast. I could send you all of these stats if you signed your name.

With this great tool of internet communication, you could add your comment from Miami. I understand that you arent getting the calls regarding the speeding, blocking driveways & hydrants, Wendy's wrappers and occasional condoms in the lawn. I do get those calls. See, I am the Alderman they call.

Anonymous said...

Funny, the school issue was the number one complaint at every Ward 9 Neighborhood Watch meeting you had years ago. Something is finally going to happen to change the status quo around here.

Whats more funny is that, by pointing out the problem, youve gotten flack from someone. Probably a parent from Zena anyway. But we have seen an increase of students driving to school over the last ten years and its having a negative affect on our quality of life.

I dont know if it's made a diference, but thanks for pushing the BOE Mike.

Peter Mack said...

Hi Mike:

Kudos to you for tackling a tough issue! This has been a sore spot for both residents of midtown and people who drive down Broadway past the high school when school is in session.

I rememeber watching in amazement how some students would walk right into oncoming traffic when the light is green. I have stopped on several occasions and let the students cross. This is an accident waiting to happen. Young adolsecents will assert their independence; however, walking into oncoming traffic against the DON'T WALK signal is an accident waiting to happen.

I stopped the superintendent, Gerald Gretzinger, to tell him of my observations. I told him that I was surprised not to see a school safety officer monitoring the crosswalks in front of the school. He did not seem concerned, nor offered any assistance. Somehow, I was not surprised at his indifference.

What these students need is effective leadership and the message that walking into oncoming traffic is not only hazardous to themselves, but to the drivers as well. One day, a driver may be distracted and someone may be injured or worse.

Thanks again, Mike, for tackling this issue. What a shame that Gerry Gretzinger did not take action, nor did Chris Farrell. They are the ones who should have the students' safety and best interests at heart.

Anonymous said...

The sad truth is that the building cannot be closed. It is just not built to close. The district can pass all the rules it wants, can expand the cafeteria as it sees fit. The building has about 612 doors that are grandfathered by the builidng code. The unnecessary doors cannot be sealed, cannot be blocked no matter how useless they are.

As long as there are doors every ten feet, the kids who want to leave the building will leave the building, they will wander your neighborhood and they will make trouble. That is what certain teenagers do.

Having a bulidng that is "closed" as a matter of practice and policy certainly will keep the obedient kids in the builidng throughout the day. I think your concerns and your constituents concerns are more with the kids who are disobedient, and they will continue to walk out of any door they pass without any regard for whehter or not the district calls the building an open or closed campus.

The sad truth is that the builidng does not serve our district's needs in this century, it is unmanageable and it is a disaster waiting to happen. It needs to be replaced, split up and fundamentally re-organized.

Unfortuantely, the community cannot afford the cost of doing the necessary work and the state will not step in until someone gets seriously hurt.

Anonymous said...

Here we go again,spending thousands of dollars for a study.don't we have anybody that can figure out what needs to be done and is already on the books.

Anonymous said...

Are you really an Alderman?
I am used to you politicians being self-serving and obtuse. Not only do you put your thoughts out there on a blog, but youre all over the place on subject matter. KUDOs to you madsen. I may have to rethink my expectations from our elected.
Or are you of a select few?

Anonymous said...

Dont get too worked up over Madsen, he's probably preparing for a run for Mayor. Kidding.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gretzinger needs a good kick in the ass.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Gretzinger, for the Montessori program. Oops-- that has nothing to do with the Kirkland Restoration-- just thought I'd throw that one in cuz I love to emulate the Mayor. Kidding.
I'm praying to God, like Pastor Childs, that, we can make ALL secular events in the city into prayer occasions, because God knows Kingston could USE plenty of prayer!!
Why not PRAY that Kingston High becomes a closed campus too?! "Dear Lord, please bring back the workers who restored the Kirkland to board up KHS and let's pay them hugely to take their pay elsewhere. Thank you for allowing this economic development. Amen."

Mike Madsen said...

Latest commenter: you are so right. Another secular event starting off with prayer will put me over the edge.

Your point about keeping the students on campus...right on! They leave the school property, meet each other away from authority and do things their parents wouldnt approve of. Stoned kids dont learn.

And taking pay out of town...if we continue to ignore the illegal alien employee issue, we will all be leaving for greener pastures. Thank you last commenter.

Anonymous said...

Gee Mike, what an uncanny knack for "reading between my lines." It is almost as if you read my mind.
I must disagree with you on one point however:stoned kids learn something, ie, to get stoned. This may be, on balance, a
negligible "learning experience" but not a totally null one(more like a totally NUMB one). ; - P
The praying rite at the Kirkland was also a common token to the token folks by all the white folks who run things, and one could only wonder whether it was the Catholic rich sensibilities of the crowd or the racial prejudice that caused the room to hush into a palpable funk at that moment or some 55-45 mixture of both. O'Connor with his prior statements on the subject was strangely silent and complacent on the matter in the company of the mucky-mucks, to whom one imagines he sold his soul on this topic in exchange for Kirkland Restoration support, and clearly his alliance with the Mayor has skewed his political sensibilities overall beyond the business of the Kirkland in ways even I shudder at.
Which happens to be yet another stupidity of Kingston, which anyone knows anything would have been exploited successfully by Hal Turner had the Mayor not called out a minor army a couple years ago.
Finally, personally I also abhor the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance at Common Council meetings because I would rather pledge my allegiance to something more meaningful and tangible than a nicely colored and starred piece of cloth. Something like the Constitution, maybe, to support the ideal of "liberty and justice for all"!! (Can you please forgive me, Betsy Ross?)

Anonymous said...

Mike...thanks for mentioning this. As far back as 2001, I was promoting the concept of closing the high school campus and consistently questioned the school attorney at our meetings with regard to the legality of an "open campus." I was never given much of an answer and then Superintendent Litchka did not have the leadership ability to tackle the issue.

I spoke most recently at the BOE meeting at the George Washington School and again, asked the current board to take this idea as seriously as possible. My contention was that the district is known for REACTING to an incident (ex: the sexual "rape" in the bathroom at 3pm on a school day), and encouraged them in this dangerous day and age to get this concept in motion.

I believe there are already studies from the 90's on the shelves at Crown St. with regard to space issues.

The BOE needs the community to voice their positive opinions with regard to this issue of closing the hs campus at their meetings. I hope the community....especially those in Ward 9, will attend the next meeting and say "hooray!"
J. Dunham