03/18/15 12:00pm
03/18/2015 12:00 PM
New Suffolk parent Mary Steinfeld expresses concern during the district's meeting Tuesday night.  (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

New Suffolk parent Mary Steinfeld expresses concern during the district’s meeting Tuesday night. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

Facing a budget gap of nearly $160,000 for 2015-16 caused by a unique situation involving a teacher who decided to return to the tiny district from a special assignment, the New Suffolk Board of Education wants input from the community on how best to handle the looming shortfall.

About 40 residents packed the elementary school during a special meeting Tuesday night, during which school board president Tony Dill fielded questions and suggestions after outlining how the projected deficit developed.  (more…)

10/02/12 2:00pm

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Oysterponds school superintendent Dick Malone, center, will announce details tonight about a new sixth-grade program agreement the district reached Monday with Greenport schools.

Oysterponds school superintendent Dick Malone will announce details tonight about a new sixth-grade program agreement the district reached Monday with Greenport schools.

Greenport school officials decided to change its own secondary school program this school year by moving sixth-graders from the elementary school into the secondary school. Those students will now have an opportunity to take secondary school courses, such as technology and home economics.

Oysterponds offers preschool through sixth grade for East Marion and Orient residents and sends its secondary students to Greenport. Both districts are currently finalizing a five-year tuition contract.

Mr. Malone said the new agreement with Greenport schools allows Oysterponds sixth-graders to also take advantage of secondary school courses.

All 13 Oysterponds sixth-graders will take a home economics course in the morning at Greenport starting in January, he said. Those students will travel to Greenport on buses already available to high school students. The district is expected to provide separate return transportation so its sixth-graders can finish the school day at Oysterponds, Mr. Malone said.

In addition, Mr. Malone said the district’s sixth-graders will now learn health education this year at Oysterponds. Learning health education now will give those students additional time to take higher level courses at Greenport, he said.

“Greenport has plans to beef up its seventh and eighth programs,” Mr. Malone said. “The more we can do to make students more successful in high school, the better prepared they’ll be for college.”

Mr. Malone, who was hired as new superintendent in July after Joan Frisicano resigned, said new plans for Oysterponds sixth-graders started after the first day of school because the issue was first brought to his attention Sept. 20.

Since that time, Mr. Malone said he’s been working to create his sixth-grade program recommendation.

Oysterponds school board president Dorothy-Dean Thomas said she supports the plan because she believes it will benefit Oysterponds students.

“We’ve been trying to work out a way that the Oysterponds sixth-graders can take advantage of [Greenport’s secondary program],” she said. “I’m very pleased both superintendents were able to come to an agreement.”

Mr. Comanda wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Additional details about the new sixth grade program will be announced tonight during a special meeting set for 7 p.m. at the Oysterponds elementary school in Orient.

To read more of this story, pick up a copy of The Suffolk Times on newsstands Thursday or click on the E-Paper.

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09/20/12 5:00pm
09/20/2012 5:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Superintendent Michael Comanda will give an iPad presentation to the school board at tonight’s meeting.

Greenport school superintendent Michael Comanda is expected to update the Board of Education on the district’s new iPad program at tonight’s board meeting.

All ninth- and tenth-graders received iPads at the start of the new school year and teachers were trained last month on how to use the new devices as a teaching tool. Textbooks and free scientific calculator applications are downloaded to the iPads, which school officials have described an opportunity for students to learn how to use new technology and research techniques, as well as a cost saving measure.

According to tonight’s agenda, the board will likely vote on a resolution to approve a $3,000 donation from Exxon Mobil to help fund iPad purchases.

Scroll down to view the complete agenda. Read more about this story on Aug. 27 in The Suffolk Times or on our E-Paper.

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Greenport BOE meeting agenda, Sept. 20, 2012

07/05/12 5:00pm

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Greenport school superintendent Mike Comanda, shown here celebrating the 2010 approval of a school renovation bond, is now also responsible for New Suffolk School.

Greenport School Superintendent Michael Comanda has been named part-time superintendent of the New Suffolk School District, effective July 1.

He received permission from the New York State Education Department to serve in both districts, said several people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Comanda agreed last school year to forgo a salary increase in Greenport, where he earns $188,000. His part-time New Suffolk salary and benefits will total $25,000 per year.

New Suffolk school board president Tony Dill said Monday that Mr. Comanda has been the district’s top choice since former superintendent Bob Feger announced his plan to retire earlier this spring. He said Mr. Feger suggested Mr. Comanda, with whom he had worked at the Hampton Bays school.

Mr. Dill said the district was impressed by Mr. Comanda’s interest in building on small schools’ strengths, including individualized instruction and multi-age classrooms.

“His approach is very much in line with what the board wanted to do,” said Mr. Dill. “He has energized the teaching staff.”

Mr. Comanda was not available for comment Monday. Greenport Board of Education president Tina Volinski said he discussed taking the New Suffolk position with school board members, who didn’t believe the additional post would hinder his ability to fulfill his duties in Greenport.

Mr. Feger said Monday that he’s working with Mr. Comanda on filing state documents for teacher evaluations and on finding a temporary replacement for New Suffolk’s head teacher Holly Plymale, who is taking a leave of absence next year.

“We’ve just got a couple things to put to bed,” said Mr. Feger. “Things are going along really well. I think this decision is not only unique but a special thing. I’m looking forward to watching what’s going on in New Suffolk.”

Mr. Feger, who has served in various administrative capacities at schools throughout the East End over the past 18 years and has been an educator for 47 years, said his next big plan is to go fishing.

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