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Letter: Why I Am Standing Firm

Now that we have a clearer version of events leading to Board of Education Vice President Terence Hale’s resignation, I am being pressed to withdraw my petition to the State Department of Education—supposedly to save the district the cost of responding. I will explain why I will not.

 

Mr. Hale implicated me in those emails. He either implied or stated that I and others are liars. He stated many other things improper for a school board member.

 

Mr. Hale claims he apologized to the board. However, his apology email was to me alone and did not specifically address his egregious transgressions. It diminished his culpability, saying the emails were “private” and “between adults.” He completely negated even that apology when resigning, saying the charges were frivolous and he was resigning solely to save the district money. Although he admitted privately to inappropriate language, in public he accused me of taking political advantage. Had he openly admitted his wrongdoing, or even read aloud the private apology, I’d be more inclined to let it pass.

 

But his resignation is disingenuous. He aims solely to avoid being exposed in the community or humiliated by review and possible removal by the State Department of Education. I believe his friends on the board told him to fall on his sword so blame would attach only to him. Yet he has made public his intent to run again next year. So what is the point of his resignation now but to quash my complaint?

 

He also solicited others to provide statements supporting him and attacking me. These actions say to the community: “If any of you hold us accountable this is what we will do to you.” Christine Napolitano told me by phone that she objected to Hale’s emails. 

Curiously, she now supports him. By portraying the charges as frivolous and engaging in a post-petition campaign to chill dissent, they force me to stand fast.

 

I first raised my objections privately, to the board. Mr. Hale had the chance to resign and chose not to. The board had a chance to reprimand him and chose not to.  

 

I also want it known that at the June workshop Mr. Hale and a supporter made veiled threats against my family. Mr. Hale suggested said that people like me will “get it in the neck.” His supporter—a district employee who works where one of my children attends school—suggested I should not want my children “bogged down with this baggage.” Not one trustee spoke out against his comments. No one who publicly attacked me was cautioned to be civil, a caution Mr. Hale has taken to extremes previously. I may seek separate legal relief to hold the board collectively and individually responsible for the travesty that was that June meeting; it was the epitome of an out-of-control, unprofessional board. The district and board also ignored a letter from my legal counsel requesting action on the veiled threats against my children.

 

Collectively Mr. Hale and his supporters believe they are unaccountable. They feel they can attack me, insult residents, and threaten my children with impunity. So, I will not withdraw my petition and further legal action may be necessary. I also do this for the people of the district, who should not have to fear that holding public officials accountable will lead to social ostracism or more serious damages. I am confident that the more light that is shed on this board, the more people will understand why I won’t back down. I will persevere.

 

Irene Parrino 

Mineola Board of Education


News

After announcing his resignation from the Levittown School District last January, Superintendent Dr. James Grossane has accepted a new job as Superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District. 

 

“I look forward to the new challenges awaiting me in the Smithtown Central School District,” Grossane said. “I wish the Levittown Public Schools and its students, parents and staff all the best as they continue to move forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Five year projection shows tough road ahead

The Levittown Board of Education unanimously adopted a $198.7 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, which comes with a proposed tax levy increase of 1.62 percent. This represents a $2.1 million increase from last year, for a proposed levy of $133.2 million.   

 

The Levittown school district will receive $49,163,299 in state aid for the 2014-2015 school year, which increased by $690,049 from last year’s budget. The other revenues also show an increase of $684,250 from last year. 

 

In the past seven years, the district received its largest percentage of state aid in 2008-2009 with 30 percent. According to Assistant Superintendent Bill Pastore, state aid has decreased since then, leveling off for the past few years and coming in at slightly below 25 percent for 2014-15.


Sports

The Farmingdale State College baseball team earned an 8-2 victory over the College of Staten Island in a recent non-conference home game.

 

In the bottom of the second, left fielder Richard Sullivan of Farmingdale broke broke the scoreless tie on a two out RBI single. Senior third baseman Sal Sanquini of Levittown would go on to hit an RBI single through the left side to increase the lead 2-0. Sanquini was 2-for-4 at the plate with a game-high of 3 RBIs.

The Island Trees varsity softball team had an amazing 8-3 win in extra innings on April 2nd against a previously unbeaten Clarke team to improve their league record to 2-0.  Ashley Melendez opened up the scoring with a solo homerun to lead off the 4th inning. 

 

Although the team relinquished the lead in the 4th and 5thinnings, they did not let the negative turn of events get the best of them.   Down one with three outs left, Sam Scharff led off the top of the 7th with an amazing bunt for a hit.  Christie Ciaramitaro and Kelly Cembrale both reached on errors to keep the inning and team’s hopes alive.  Morgan Petry roped an RBI single up the middle to score courtesy runner, Kim Ahrens with the tying run.   


Calendar

Bellmore FD Fundraiser - April 25

Earth Day Cleanup - April 26

Bowling For Scholars - April 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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