Hinsdale Community Voices Concerns Over $6.8 Million Capital Project

Members of the community listen as Business Administrator Jennifer Jaquith explains the logistics of Hinsdale's recently unveiled capital project. Credits: Jessica Dillon

HINSDALE, NY -- Members of the Hinsdale community voiced concerns about the district's proposed $6.8 million capital project.during an information session about the proposal Wednesday

Frequent questions from the nearly 30 community members in attendance filled the hour-and-a-half presentation by a panel composed of Superintendent Larry Ljungberg, Hinsdale Central School Ahletic Director Mark Crino and Business Administrator Jennifer Jaquith.  

As Ljungberg described the logistics of the newly proposed plan, which would include renovations to existing facilities, the purchase of nearly 14 acres of property adjacent to the school and the creation of an athletic complex and nature study area, community members raised several questions. Their concerns ranged from expected costs of maintenance after the project's completion to Hinsdale's declining student enrollment, which is down by nearly 150 students in recent years. Many Hinsdale taxpayers voiced their concerns as to whether their money would be supporting a lost cause.  

Sign Up for E-News

"How confident are you about the current STAR program?" Norman Emerson asked. "Our governor would really like you to consolidate. The president is cutting federal aid to schools by 13 percent. This is a 15-year project. Things can change very drastically within that time period."  

Ljungberg said he empathized with the concern, but doesn't expect the school to go away any time soon.  

"We have a lot of great things going for us financially and academically," Ljungberg said. "The school's not going to go away. They're going to focus on priority schools and focus on schools persistently failing. We're not on that list."  

Several Hinsdale Central School teachers attested to the district's value.  Among them was first-grade teacher Jenny Bergstrom.

"I've been here 20 years, and I love my job," Bergstrom said. "I feel so strongly about this school that I pull my kids from Olean." 

Board President Jennifer Howell expressed similar sentiments.  

"When we're looking for families and businesses to move in, part of keeping our community active and up to date is drawing those resources," Howell said. "They're looking at all these school districts, and I fully agree with you. I don't want to see those businesses and families go." 

And Ljungberg said he believes that if they build the complex, students will come.  

"We fight back," Ljungberg said. "I do know, and I tell this to staff, if we can maintain strong grades and strong financials, we're going to be fine. But we can't just go on our merits. It's almost like the adage 'If you're not growing, you're dying.' " 

Crino said he hoped building the complex would help support such new growth, especially in terms of Hinsdale's soccer program.  

"When I started back in 2007, we were scraping to get even seven to nine students on a team," Crino said. "This year we had 16, and I know the girls' team had close to 16 as well. Soccer's becoming the sport. We're hoping to accommodate that, we're hoping to attract more kids—more soccer kids—and eventually expand the athletic program."  

But with such limited numbers, how can the school justify building a multi-million dollar athletic complex, asked one member of the crowd while several others nodded in agreement.  

Ljungberg said it wasn't just about the athletic complex. He reminded the crowd that the proposed budget includes building renovations as well as construction of the nature pavilion.  

"Think about aquatic studies, science, ELA, math," Ljungberg said. "Wetlands are one of the most diverse ecological environments out there. I saw six different types of water fowl, deer and fish jumping, and I wasn't even looking." 

"Think about seventh-grade science classes going out in the pavilion and doing long-term studies," he continued. "It's literally real science. They can use math and statistical analysis. They can write about it. That's what we can do. It's exciting."  

Bergstrom said the students were excited too.  

"They're hoping for it," Bergstrom said.  "If you listen to kids talking in the hallways, they're very excited." 

While more concerns were raised about costs -- the average increase in yearly taxes for a Hinsdale resident would be $70, Jaquith said -- Ljungberg assured the community that the money would be for a good cause.  

"The school is kind of the focal point of the community, and I do believe that," Ljungberg said. "At the end of the day, my job is to keep Hinsdale alive and well."  

The official capital project vote will be held April 4 from noon to 8 p.m. in the athletic entrance of the lower gym. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

Sights and Sounds: The First Four of the NCAA Tournament

Traffic is a common occurrence, but for fans of the Dayton Flyers, it’s a usual event every gameday. A trip across the Great Miami River leads to the Flyers’ athletic complex. It became the same ritual for Bonnies fans heading to the University of Dayton Arena for the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.

Snow, sleet and hail pounded down on the car as we ...

My Experience: What Almost Was Not

DAYTON, OHIO -- I almost didn’t get to shoot the game.

My media credential got all messed up because I neglected to go through one minor process (I’m an idiot lol and didn’t check my email). Luckily, some amazing people and friends helped push my name through, and I was granted media access to Tuesday's match against UCLA. For them, I am truly grateful and beyond ...

Bonnies Fan Finds Retribution in Trip to NCAA Tournament

Sunday, March 13, 2016. 

A day that doesn't sit well with Bonnies fans. The Atlantic 10 Tournament in Brooklyn had already left a sour taste in the mouths of Bona fans with an overtime loss in the quarterfinals to the Davidson Wildcats 90-86. Many students including myself took the chance to take an opportunity the day after to take a day to sightsee in New York City.

Sunday ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, March 19, 10:00 AM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Mother Goose Story Time


Mon, March 19, 12:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Simply Stories


Mon, March 19, 1:30 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Craft Class: Nifty Knitter

Home & Garden

CRCF Community Fund Grant Applications Are Due April 21

March 16, 2018

Grant applications for the next funding cycle of the Community Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation are due April 21.

“The Community Fund is an unrestricted fund that allows the foundation’s board to approve grants responsive to the changing needs of the community,” said CRCF Executive Director Karen Niemic Buchheit. “The grants, typically between $100 ...

Archbishop Walsh Academy to Host St. Patrick's Day Party and Raffle

OLEAN, NY -- Archbishop Walsh Academy and the Walsh Sports Boosters Club will host their annual St. Patrick’s Day Party and Raffle on Saturday, March 24, from 7 to 11 p.m. at Archbishop Walsh, 208 N. 24th St. The event welcomes over 700 guests and raises nearly $100,000 each year. It has become one of the school’s largest fundraisers, supporting ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...