New superintendent, same mission

Thomas Douglas took over as superintendent of the Bethlehem Central School District on Jan. 1.

Thomas Douglas took over as superintendent of the Bethlehem Central School District on Jan. 1.

“One of the biggest things is that there is the ability to do as many shared service or municipality agreements as possible to try and reduce costs or share costs. In a way, you’re not dealing with revenue, but you’re decreasing your expenditure,” said Douglas.

He stressed that it was important to keep people informed about shared services, and to protect the jobs of hard working staff members.

“The big thing is, you should always keep in mind that you’re dealing with individuals and people, and you try to also make sure that they are understanding, so that it’s not about anybody losing anything. It’s about how we can do it better,” said Douglas.

The Bethlehem Central School District could bring in $210,000 worth of additional revenue over the next five years under a proposed agreement to lease out the shuttered Clarksville Elementary School to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. Douglas is still catching up on the proposal, but said he understands the importance of preserving the school as an asset for the district.

“Any way that you can always keep your assets moving forward in a positive way is an efficiency for the district and the community,” said Douglas.

The new superintendent said it’s his job to make sure people know that the district shines. He made it clear that he wants to hear from district residents, adding that he’ll unveil his entry plan on the district’s website in early January.

“There are going to be open community forums. I want to hear what people value, what people worry about in each of the elementary areas, as well as the middle and high school,” said Douglas.

The decision to move to the Capital District was one Douglas wanted to make for personal and professional reasons. He and his wife are looking to make the area their home.

“We’re really vested in putting our roots here,” said Douglas. “I have a 2-year-old. I want him to have one of the best opportunities, and that’s going to be something that I guard very precious to me.”

Douglas took over as superintendent of the BC Schools on Jan. 1.

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