Mohonasen board mulls program that makes cents

The Mohonasen School Board is considering approving a First New York Federal Credit Union branch at the high school.

Lucy Gottung, vice president of First New York, presented the credit union's school program to the board at its meeting Monday, Sept 10.

The school program aims to give students the opportunity to learn about the principles of marketing and banking in a real-world application. Students would be employees of the bank and learn to do various tasks, such as opening accounts, giving loans and making other teller transactions.

First New York is a federal credit union, which is member-owned, Gottung said. The credit union is managed by banking professionals, and a board of directors makes all of its decisions.

First New York started 70 years ago as Schenectady Teachers, a credit union for only teachers in the Schenectady school district. It extended to become First Teachers, for Capital District teachers and their families, and in 2005, grew again to become First New York. Now anyone who lives, works, worships or goes to school in any of the five counties where the credit union does business can become a member.

Gottung said the core of the credit union is in education. Many of the accounts offered are geared toward students, and the credit union helps many educational causes.

Schenectady High School opened the first high school First New York branch four years ago. A teacher and an assistant principal advise six students who staff the branch.

Assistant principal Makensie Bullinger and business teacher Susan Braiman agreed to be the branch's advisors at Mohonasen. The branch at Mohonasen High School would be modeled after the branch at the Schenectady High School. It would only be open on Friday afternoons during lunch. The main difference between the two branches is students at the Mohonasen branch would receive graduation credits while working at the branch.

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