2017-08-11 / Front Page

School Board vacancy to be filled in spring election

BY RIKKI N. MASSAND

The position on the Garden City Board of Education vacated by Trustee Laura Hastings in early summer will remain open until the next district election in mid-May of 2018. School Board President Angela Heineman announced this week that the four school district trustees – herself, Robert Martin, Tom Pinou, and William Holub – now represent the “Core Four,” a reference to four homegrown New York Yankees’ all-stars that led the team to five World Series titles in 14 years. Almost an entire school year ahead and the process of selecting the next superintendent for the school district face the four sitting trustees, as each one agreed that the board’s priorities heading into this fall are cumbersome, leading to less time to consider a fifth board member joining soon.

Heineman reviewed the three options the school board has at this time, with Hastings resigning nearly 10 months before the next regular May district election. “We can appoint someone to fill the vacancy and to serve until the next election in May 2018; we could hold a special election to fill the vacancy, and the third option is to leave the seat vacant until the next election and allow the normal nominating and election process to go forth,” she said. School board attorney Bonnie Gorham of the Farmingdale-based firm Guercio & Guercio LLP nodded and offered some clarity about waiting until the next election in May.

“In the next annual election the vacant seat will be filled by selection from the voters. The person elected will take office the day after the May election,” Gorham said.

At the July meeting Heineman announced that the board would discuss the matter in public on August 8, which it did briefly, after she noted “we have not made any decisions.” Since the decision of former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Feirsen to retire, Heineman has been concerned about the school board being stretched too thin “concentrating on the transition, our focus has been finding a suitable experienced interim superintendent to lead us to the net year (Dr. Alan Groveman).” Evaluating the best candidate to serve alongside the current four members and represent the village may be one task the board isn’t ready to handle. Heineman called the work ahead with search consultants from Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates “another intense, time-consuming process.” She looked at the element of timeliness involved with having to hire a new superintendent, priority number one by summer of 2018.

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