No. 3 Top News Story: Southold, Greenport to share superintendent

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | David Gamberg talks to Greenport school officials after Wednesday night's meeting.
CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | David Gamberg talks to Greenport school officials after a Southold school board meeting.

Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda and his Southold counterpart, Superintendent David Gamberg, announced on Nov. 15 that the districts have reached a shared-superintendent agreement.

Come this summer, when Mr. Comanda retires, Mr. Gamberg is expected to take his place for the next two years while keeping his Southold superintendent position — a move state officials are calling a first for Long Island K-12 school districts.

Under the deal, the districts would share Mr. Gamberg’s salary equally and he will “have dual reporting lines to both boards.” Other details, including salary, are still being discussed.

Mr. Comanda, who will continue as a part-time superintendent in the New Suffolk school district, said he believes the Gamberg move is a win-win for taxpayers and Greenport families. Mr. Gamberg said he believes his background as an assistant superintendent in the Patchogue-Medford School District will help him adjust to working in two districts, since that larger district has 11 buildings.

In addition to handling tuition negotiations with New Suffolk as Southold’s superintendent — an ironic move that means he will still be working with Mr. Comanda — Mr. Gamberg will now also be responsible for working on Greenport’s secondary contract with Oysterponds. The Oysterponds school district in Orient currently sends its secondary students to Greenport. Those districts are currently finalizing a five-year tuition deal.

State Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who has been a big proponent of shared-service agreements, described Greenport and Southold as being a model to show other districts they can expand quality student programs while saving taxpayer dollars and maintaining a school’s identity.

Editor’s note: We’re counting down the top 10 news stories of 2013. Check back every day until Jan. 1 to follow along.