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Did opposition to school closing cost deputy supervisor her job?

Laurie Osmond believes she lost her post as Woodstock deputy supervisor because she spoke out about the impending closure of Woodstock Elementary School in 2028.

Town supervisor Bill McKenna said her appointment had been temporary.

“The current board majority led by incumbent president Cindy Bishop is planning to close Woodstock Elementary,” Osmond said at the May 13 meeting of the town board after a presentation on the school budget.

That’s when McKenna cut her off. “Please give me the microphone. That’s politics,” he said.

A few days later, McKenna told Osmond she was finished as deputy supervisor. He said her appointment had been for six months, and that it was time to move on with someone else.

Though he admitted he felt blindsided by Osmond’s remarks, McKenna maintained that hadn’t been the reason for dismissing her. He had planned on making the change in July, he said, but he moved the timetable up since he was taking some time off in June.

Osmond was appointed in February 2023.

Osmond, who served on the school board at Onteora for 14 years, said In an email to the town board that she believed it was the town board’s responsibility to advocate for its town and its residents.

“I feel that the board has been wrong in its silence on the closure of Woodstock Elementary, and I believe that it was wrong to cancel me,” she wrote. “It’s not politics, it’s community, and that’s what you were elected to serve.”

Osmond noted that she had not been silenced when she spoke about the issue at the January 23 meeting of the town board. “I think it’s very important because in my opinion Woodstock Elementary is really one of the heartbeats of our town,” she said then. “It’s a big draw for families, and it’s very difficult for me to imagine Woodstock without a school. And I think there’s enough research to support the effects on a community when schools close.”

Osmond said Shandaken’s town board had passed a resolution in 2008 supporting her and a slate of candidates opposing the proposed closure of Phoenicia Elementary School.

That school is closing in June.

Last May, McKenna wrote a letter to the school board opposing Woodstock Elementary’s closure, but neither he nor the other members of the town board have spoken publicly about the district reconfiguration.

McKenna has not announced his choice for Osmond’s successor. She will continue her work on the Youth Center Task Force, which is drafting a proposal for a new youth center and upgrades to Andy Lee Field.

The post Did opposition to school closing cost deputy supervisor her job? first appeared on Hudson Valley One.

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