Parents expected to voice displeasure with Hendrick Hudson school system tonight

Many parents in the Hendrick Hudson school system are angry over changes made to the district’s three elementary schools this year, and it is expected they'll be voicing their opinions loud and clear at a public hearing scheduled for tonight.
Big changes have been made at Hendrick Hudson's elementary schools this year, and much of this stems from the closure of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant.
For years, Indian Point had been funding almost one-third of the district's operating budget, so school officials had to figure out how to make up for that huge financial loss.
They decided to implement what's called the Princeton Plan beginning this year despite parents' objections.
Up until now each elementary school housed grades K through 5. But now, under the controversial plan, one building is kindergarten through one, another building is grades 2 and 3, and the third is grades 4 and 5.
District officials say that grouping students by grade, instead of by neighborhood, enabled them to eliminate 14 staff positions, saving more than $2 million which meant avoiding a 4.5% tax increase.
But many parents say the elimination of neighborhood schools is causing many problems. For example, some students who were able to walk to their school are now having to take as much as a 40 minute bus ride to a different building.
"The vast, vast majority of our residents no longer have children in the district and they are looking to us to make sure they are not taxed out of their home," says Hendrick Hudson School Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter. " Seems like very small savings relative to the scope of budget for the district, and a lot of us moved here for the community neighborhood schools," says Nancy Herring, parent.
Matt Hooban and his wife have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old. They live in Montrose, right down the block from the Frank Lindsey School. It's one of three elementary schools in the Hendrick Hudson district. "When we first moved in here, we were looking forward to the kids being in the school together for a little while." However, Hooban says he see some benefits to the plan. "Just knowing that they can actually do a whole lot of shared resource allocation and give more levels of education for each of the grade levels does seem like there are a lot of advantages."
The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at the Lindsey Elementary School in Montrose.