Education

Oysterponds to vote on ‘possible receiving districts’

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.

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