Oysterponds to vote on ‘possible receiving districts’

03/29/2011 1:44 PM |

The Oysterponds school.

Parents of Orient and East Marion sixth-graders could be left wondering this week where their children will continue their education next year.

A resolution on the agenda for Wednesday’s Oysterponds school board meeting called for designating both Greenport and Mattituck-Cutchogue as “possible receiving districts” for Oysterponds’ secondary school students.

The board says that satisfies Oysterponds’ legal responsibility to name a receiving school by April 1. The Oysterponds district, which operates a K-6 school, has always sent its junior and senior high school students to Greenport.

But Oysterponds board president Deborah Dumont said, “As far as I know, there’s no agreement” in place with  Greenport for the 2011-12 school year. Last summer her board rolled back a two-year extension of the contract with Greenport that would have lasted through the 2013-14 school year, and also lopped one year off the previous agreement, which was to expire in June 2012.

The New York State Department of Education is considering whether that action is legal. Greenport protested the rollbacks last year and asked the state to step in. A decision could come in April, Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda told his board last week.

Naming both schools as potential receiving districts is “a non-event,” Ms. Dumont said.

But that’s not how Greenport views it.

“I was disappointed that this is on their agenda at such a late time as it affects our budget and, as they know, our budget has been finished and we have no more scheduled workshops,” said Greenport Board of Education president Tina Volinski.

Greenport students have rallied in support of continuing the relationship between the two districts when previous threats loomed to send Oysterponds students elsewhere.

Past agreements included a provision allowing Orient and East Marion students already enrolled in Greenport to continue their studies there through to their high school graduation.

The Oysterponds board can make a decision that would affect a two-year contract, while a three-year contract would need voter approval, Ms. Dumont said.

During its Wednesday meeting, the Oysterponds board was also expected to name acting superintendent/principal Joan Frisicano as permanent part-time superintendent effective July 1. Ms. Frisicano, a retired Sag Harbor principal, has certification for both roles.

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For an update on Wednesday night’s Oysterponds Board of Education votes, visit www.suffolktimes.com.



13 Comment

  • This legal opinion that Ms Dumont is relying on came from an attorney that she personally consulted not a school district attorney. Everybody knows how attorneys operate, whom ever pays the bill gets the opinion they want. The fact about voting for a contract extension for anything over two years I guess a lot of people have been breaking the law as far as Ms Dumont may be concerned.

  • I don’t see the point in naming 2 schools as potential receiving districts. Everyone has the right to choose the school their children attend. This choice is done through the purchasing of homes, renting of homes or paying tuition. Why is it that Oysterponds School Board sees the need to take this into their own hands?
    As for naming Ms. Frisicano as permanent part-time superintendent, she may have the education, but has NO experience. She is doing a wonderful job as a principal, but the job should be opened up to applicants and the best suited for the position should be chosen. It is also my understanding that Ms. Frisicano never applied for the position of Superintendent as, Stu Rachlin was the superintendent and once he was removed she was offered the position.
    Another thing to consider is that Monday evening their is a community forum scheduled. This forum is to discuss the communities feelings on Superintendent and Principal. The community has the right to voice their feelings on what they feel each potential applicant should possess, as far as, education, and experience.

  • Well said concerned parent, the thing here is these people that want to send their children elsewhere want to do it at your expense not theirs. They want to continue to enjoy the lower tax rate of Oystrponds and spend “OPM” other peoples money.

  • You don’t have the right to choose what public school district you child attends. Oysterponds is a sole independent elementary school, has its own school board and Superintendent. So Oysterponds is able to choose what school district it sees fit for its students, for their secondary education. Change is not always a bad thing, and they are not shackling the parents into having to send their kids to Mattituck, but they are giving them that option. I see nothing wrong with that.

  • Well they with drew the resolution after over a dozen community members voiced their opposition. So much for a “non-event”.

  • Too bad not everyone in the audience was listening to the facts…an 18% increase in the seneca falls rate to send our kids to GPT…
    GPT Board unwilling to meet with and negotiate a fair contract
    The desire of the Oysterponds BOE to explore additional school districts to save tax payers $
    I also heard that because of the large increase at GPT that there would have to be a freeze on our teachers salaries…and further cuts at our school to absorb GPT’s increases…
    The good news is that they approved a community vote on this…so I am sure the taxpayers will be out in force to ensure choice…just so we can contain costs if nothing else…

  • I wonder if Greenport would be playing such hardball with Oysterponds if that contract wasn’t unilaterally withdrawn and the idea of sending kids to another district wasn’t perenially cropping up.

  • Greenport is not playing hardball with the contract. Oysterponds agreed to the Senneca Falls tution formula set by the state. And the fact is Oysterponds BOE unilaterally withdrew the contract already in place.

  • Dear Oysterponds Observer,

    The legal opinion to which you refer is not a personal attorney. 3 school legal firms- -all different — were contacted in the fall of 2009 regarding the Greenport contract and the need for a vote if the contract was greater than 2 years. All legal firms confirmed that a vote was required for a valid contract. A vote was not held and in June, 2010, two more years were added to the contract. Education Law 2040 is very clear. You should research it. I think you will indeed see that the law was broken many times. Taxpayer’s have a voice when it comes to OPS spending taxpayer dollars to tuition students to other districts if the contract is greater than 2 years up to and including 5 years. The Board must designate the receiving District(s) by April 1. This is the choice and discretion of the BOE.
    In 2009 the board sought the advice of three firms. InJuly 2010, the outgoing President consulted another firm, who upheld the same 2009 findings and then in August 2010, the board sought the counsel of Ingerman and Smaith, Education lawyers, who gave the same findings.

    These findings are not from my lawyer; these are the finding of all lawyers involved in this case long before I joined the BOE.

    Deborah Dumont

  • The Oysterponds residents should ask themselves why Greenport is so afraid of choice. If the school is as wonderful as everyone stated last night, it should present no threat. Choice is always good; so is competition. Perhaps Greenport will come to appreciate the 2 million ( 1/3 of the school budget) the Oysterponds taxpayers send them each year.
    If I had 2 million dollar customer, I would do everything I could to keep them happy.