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Story - Education

Sep 14, 2010 5:44 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

State denies petition to transform Tuckahoe to union free district

Sep 14, 2010 5:44 PM

The New York State Commissioner of Education has dismissed a petition appealing the Tuckahoe School Board’s refusal to hold a referendum on converting the tiny common school district to a union free one.

The decision, signed by Commissioner David M. Steiner and dated September 9, states that petitioner Harald Steudte’s “sole” purpose in trying to switch to a union free district is “to establish a new governing body and is based on dissatisfaction with the current board, particularly in light of the board’s actions with respect to a previous superintendent’s contract.”

State law allows common school districts to become union free districts if the primary purpose for the change is to expand educational opportunities for students by creating a larger district capable of running a high school, the decision states. A change to a union free district would have allowed the pre-K to grade 8 district to expand its grades to the high school level, as well as expand its School Board from three members to as many as nine.

Mr. Steudte, a former Tuckahoe School Board member, was one of 37 signatories to the petition, which was originally submitted to the school district last January and to the state in February. The majority of the School Board rejected the petition last winter.

Former Superintendent Linda Rozzi left the district in the middle of the last school year after the board decided not to renew her contract—an action that caused great uproar throughout the district, with many parents wanting her to stay and openly expressing displeasure with the School Board’s small size.

School Board Chairwoman Sharon Grindle could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Mr. Steudte said on Tuesday he hadn’t had time to “digest” the decision, but said he was pleased the makeup of the School Board changed this year. Former member Susan Riccardi opted not to run for reelection last spring, and Daniel Crough was elected to fill her vacated seat.

Since the petition was filed, the district has also hired a new superintendent-principal, Joseph C. “Chris” Dyer.

A district has not switched from a common school district to a union free district in the state since 1978.

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Good luck to the teachers, administrators, parents and most importantly to the children of Tuckahoe. Congratulations on your efforts which resulted in a positive evolution of the board. The current peace is a joy and we all hope you have a fantastic year. The learning that is happening at that school is wonderful to see. Way to go.
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Sep 16, 10 2:09 PM

Dylan, there is peace and joy (in your opinion) only because your band of rogue parents who shamelessly propounded a phony rationale for a petition, are no longer screaming and shouting like a bunch of gun toting Tea Party zealots.

You all have been publicly rebuked by the NY State Commissioner as having a phony agenda and malevolent intentions which he summarily rejected, ie, a baseless intellectually dishonest attempt to bully Board members trying to do their jobs. Your cause was ...more
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Sep 16, 10 4:32 PM

The obvious truth is out - known to the Tuckahoe Community and Boces all along, that the petition had nothing to do with educational principle but a band of parents who were supporters of the former Superintendent whose contract was not renewed for Cause, and tried to exact revenge through a "Coup" to dislodge the Board majority - and the NY State Commissioner did not mince any words in his unusual expression of implicit outrage. Sharon Grindle's (Chair and target) contention was vindicated ...more
By Obbservant (443), southampton on Sep 16, 10 2:26 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Sep 16, 10 3:45 PM
any by the way anthony, signing on as a woman doesn't fool us...no woman would ever use the phrase ''hapless tool''.
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Sep 16, 10 3:48 PM
Attention moderator, why have you allowed observant's vicious, personal attacks to remain on this board?
By fcmcmann (417), Hampton Bays on Sep 16, 10 5:17 PM
its completely fine, we love them. consider me the pied piper bringing all the rats out into the open. hahahaha. its unbelievable that someone can maintain such evil aggression, but the use of all that great terminology is entertaining. look, we won.
By dylan32 (64), east hampton on Sep 17, 10 5:12 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By IcanCnovember (15), Southampton on Sep 20, 10 12:59 PM
... too bad, a three person board doesn't work, irrespective of the poltics in Tuckahoe.
By William Rodney (546), southampton on Sep 20, 10 4:11 PM
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