Board of Ed Extends Superintendent Contract Through June 2015

Votes 3 to 2 in favor of extending Susan Agruso's contract.

The Kings Park Board of Education voted 3 to 2 in favor of extending district superintendent Susan Agruso’s contract for an additional 24 months, leaving Agruso in position until June of 2015.

Board trustees Steve Weber and Liz Barrett, who both voted against the extension, read prepared statements at Tuesday evening’s meeting, both stating that Agruso should be reviewed by the board before having her contract extended.

This is only the second time in thirteen months the board did not agree unanimously on an agenda item.

Barrett, in her statement to the board, said that the board "did not conduct a thorough and fair performance evaluation of Dr. Agruso" and added that she has “trouble understanding the rush to judgment and action at this time,” said Barrett.

Weber also read a prepared statement saying that he agreed with Barrett.

"I have yet to hear a convincing reason why the vote has to happen now," said Weber, who said he would like to see a review of Agruso completed this month and if the board was still interested in extending the contract that it be put on the June 5 board meeting agenda, after the budget process was completed.

Bill Motherway, president of the board said Agruso was evaluated by the board  this past spring.

“She was reviewed in March or April,” said Motherway. “We sit down as board and in this case we developed a document that laid out certain areas we felt that Dr. Agruso was very good at and some she needed to improve. And by contract we have to do it every year."

Motherway says the board will review her again in the next three months.

New York State also requires that the governing body of the school or BOCES evaluate superintendents annually.

“We evaluate her everyday,” said board trustee Tom Locascio. “We are in constant contact with her everyday, we see everyday what she does. The intel semifinalists, the performance of this district compared with surrounding districts while operating on a shoestring budget, that is a testament. I think we see the result of her work everyday."

 Agruso’s contract, before the extension, was set to expire in June of 2013.

“I think the reality of the situation is that if you don’t extend the contract in the beginning of the year, I think the discussion with the superintendent is you need to find another job,” said Motherway. “It is a 12 month process to hire a superintendent.”

Many in the audience expressed opposition to the renewal, some saying they weren’t aware that a vote would take place on Agruso’s contract. Audience members who were interested in speaking were asked to wait, by Motherway, until the public comments session which takes place at the end of each meeting.

Linda Vosseller, who has a child that attends Fort Salonga Elementary said this was her first time attending a  board meeting.

“I agree with Liz and Steve that there should be a full evaluation before this and it should also include feedback from the community,” she said.

"People are upset that you jammed through the contract," said Sally Pruslow, a former board member of nine years. "She has 18 months left on her contract, that's not right. They are upset tonight because you are not listening to the community."

Motherway said he received one email and two phone calls on the matter.

Others commended the job of the board and superintendent.

"I thank the board for approving Dr. Agruso's extension and that I personally think you are doing an excellent job," said Anne Carlin of Kings Park.

“We have a solid team in place,” said Locascio. “We have stability in place and the good work is going to continue.”

lisa costello January 20, 2012 at 04:01 PM
at the end of the day,politics is politics.unfair and corrupt!
Brian Rapp January 20, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I am with Anonymous and Jack totally. I think she is doing a wonderful job and this has aboslutely nothing to do with corruption or politics. It has everything to do with quality.
Kathleen Uhl January 20, 2012 at 04:59 PM
"Anonymous" - your comment about the people who bought their (not there) houses was extremely inappropriate & insensitifve. You have no idea what situation is causing them to lose their house(s) & should not even comment on that. And as far as this so called talent - seriously, you feel the Superintendent is "talented"? It does not take talent - it takes experience and determiniation and hard work. I can guarantee Ms. Agruso is not putting in 80 hours. However, I'm sure many teachers in each of our schools are and aren't getting paid anywhere near the salary that she is. I'm not saying she doesn't deserve a salary but I've heard numerous complaints from teachers & parents about her in particular. All I was stating is that a full & complete evalation is appropriate & fair to see whether she is doing her job to the fullest or not. Any treatment other than that is "politics". By the way, the Superintentent does not come up with all of this on her own. Please don't make her out to be God. You should take a poll on all the teachers - who experience her first hand - and see what they think. I know of one in particular who is the most TALENTED teacher I have ever known (from personal experience) who would love to give an ear-full.
KingsParkKid January 20, 2012 at 05:30 PM
To Anonymous -- you just proved my point to why the 17,000 people in our community do NOT show up. They are afraid of the repercussions of what they say if they do. You obviously feel the same way or you would put your name. To Mr. Hesel- As for giving Agruso any credit for 'student performance, the quality of the teaching staff, programs such as full day Kindergarten, special education, Advanced placements, Athletics and Intel finalists is LAUGHABLE and i am sure the parents, teachers and students themselves would agree. She implemented the full day Kindergarten so it would look better on her resume. Studies show that there was no difference between kids who attended 1/2 day and students who attended full day. All she did was take money from a better place it belonged. I understand that times have changed but I am a lifelong resident and know for a fact we never had such turmoil in our district until Agurso came along. We all may disagree on a few things here and there but this has turned into chaos in the community & district. In my opinion, anyone who stands up and says she is doing a fine job has something to gain or fears they have something to lose. I guarantee if there was a PRIVATE vote with the KP employees and community Agruso would be voted OUT. I mean no disrespect to anyone, I just want my suggestions and opinion to be heard without personal repercussions.
Kathleen Uhl January 20, 2012 at 05:34 PM
HEAR HEAR Kings Park Kid! Kudos!
KPLifer January 20, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Employees (Teachers) dont get to pick there boss. If teachers got paid any more than they do now - you would be complaining about higher taxes..If not for tenure - many of them wouldnt have lasted this long.. I can comment on the mortgage crisis - it is a proven notion that many, many people bought houses they could not afford and should not have purchased in the first place. I should not comment? and you can? This is America - god bless - we can all comment - and remember, if 1 person said it, it must be true. if it is on the internet, it is definately true! Once again - - Not one person other than a long tome board member ran for BOE - if there is community outrage - I expect at least a dozen folks to be on the ballot in May. There is no chaos or turmoil - it is about time the townies arent able to muscle in on everything they want. This is all positive change!
Theresa Williams January 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM
I'm an out of town reader of the KP patch and feel if there is this much argument about your superintendent, with a hasty and close vote like this, it needs better review. No matter what the taxpayers are saving.
Kathleen Uhl January 20, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Thank you Theresa. You obviously can see the "writing on the wall".
KPLifer January 20, 2012 at 08:00 PM
There is not much of an argument or writing on any wall. There is 17,000 community residents - only a handful have a personal agenda.
George McKnight January 20, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Representative government, we elected the Board of Ed., who now are making the decisions for the community. If we are not happy, lobby the Board Members and voice your opinion. If that doesn’t work then change the board members with your vote in May. I am no fan of the Superintendent and do believe the district needs changes. Sometimes change is painful, nobody likes the boss when they change your routine for the betterment of all. The Board and Superintendents job is to give the children the best resources, environment and education possible. Also they are to accomplish that by not over burdening the community with continued tax increases and wasteful spending. No district will ever be totally happy with everything done by the Board or the management. Not happy, step up to the plate and run for the Board.
KP Pride for Life January 21, 2012 at 04:02 AM
I can't remember? Wasn't there a certain person who used to spearhead a campaign bad mouthing Dr. Argruso and calling for her removal? Who was she? Does anyone remember her name?
Pam DeFord January 21, 2012 at 02:21 PM
After reading all the comments, it is disappointing to hear a town in such chaos. @ KingsParkKid, you said it best. You make so many good points. For all the people who are unhappy, like myself, start getting involved. Let your voice be heard, go to the meeting, your opinion counts. Let's keep in mind that our number one goal as a district is to educate our children!
kingsparkresident January 21, 2012 at 02:46 PM
How is it that you can say Susan Agruso is doing a fine job? For the 2010 budget when she proposed cutting 35 teachers 15 admin and eliminating the 7th grade middle school sports. She eliminated many teachers positions jamming more kids into less classes and raised the budget by almost 5,000,000 dollars. At the budget meeting for 2011 it was brought up that there was a surplus of almost 5,000,000 left over from the year before. How can anybody say that is a good job! She cut teachers raised our taxes and then didn't spend the money. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to just raise line items buy 8 percent. This was brought up in the 2011 meeting and quickly dropped. We have a good school district because of the teachers who care and give 150%, and let us not forget the community who pitch in everytime the PTA or the school holds a fundraiser to aquire smart boards or many of the other things our district does not have that have become main stream in other districts. I would like to know the ratio of items like smart boards or kindle's or any other item the schools needs like the playground for RJO have been bought by the district versus donated by a family or PTA.
Pam DeFord January 21, 2012 at 02:58 PM
Wow- reading what Dr. Agruso did at the 2010 and the 2011 budget meeting, why was the board in such a rush to extend her contract?? As the 2012 budget workshops approach, we should all attend to know what she is planning next.
notanoriginalKPer January 21, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Trish--I think the time has come for you to start a page that says Dump Steve Weber!! He is the one behind all this mess and calling members of the community to get them to come and turn a BOE meeting into a circus. I will say that I do think that you are a bit of a filp flopper, but you aren't an elected member of the community. It is just a role you choose to play. Steve Weber is an elected member of the communtiy who LOVES to make trouble. Has anyone commented on how he voted no to the transportation study, a study that HE ASKED FOR. People need to start to go the BOE meetings to get the facts. Dr. Agruso isn't the one cutting the teachers and the programs, the BOE is doing that. They are the ones who put up the budget, and approved it. We the community are the ones who passed it. GET THE FACTS PEOPLE. I'm not happy about the cuts and the class sizes but I don't think the BOE or Dr. Agruso is either. However, I have trouble paying my bills and can't afford my taxes to keep going up and up. Has anyopne noticed that members of the "OLD BOYS CLUB IN KP" are staying away from Steve? I wonder what your good friend is saying about her buddy Steve now. Is she still saying "we are a team" and the we I mean "she and Steve? Get real people, get the facts... Weber isn't good for KP, unless you need a picture of something to be posted on facebook. Does the man even have a job??? That's about all he is good for.
kingsparkresident January 21, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I do have the facts straight because I do attend the board of ed meetings. Ms. Agruso and her team are the ones that propose the budget that we vote on and if you have any of the spreadsheets from last years budget meetings you will see the money that was left over from the year before. Which was close to 5 million dollars. Close to the same amount the budget went up by. If the superintendent has nothing to do with the budget, then why do we need the superintendent? Susan Agruso and her team do the budget and the board fine tunes it. As far as the board goes there should be changes there as well. It is very wrong that they jammed in the vote on the superintendent's contract when she had so much time to go on the existing one.
sally pruslow January 21, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Sally Pruslow People need to identify themselves to be legitimate. When I attended the board meeting on Tuesday night it was not to protest the superintendent or her contract but to protest the board of education not following policy (which they set) and procedure. Superintendents, administrators, teachers are all subject to yearly evaluations regardless of tenure. The superintendents needs to have a current evaluation(formal) with the board prior to renewal or extension of the contract. This usually done in executive session with only the board members attending, then they meet in executive session with the superintendent discus the results and set goals for the next year. These meetings are recorded, not the content. This apparently didn't occur or 2 of the board members wouldn't have asked to postpone the vote. The community needs to voice there opinions. When I was on the board we changed the meeting format to a working agenda at the first meeting and a voting meeting at the second. Hopefully the board will change or maybe the community can encourage them to do so. With the upcoming discussion on the bus garage, the 2012/2013 budget and the election of 2 board members it would be nice to see the board become more inclusive. May I state that I do not know Steve Weber nor did he encourage me to attend this meeting. There were some concerned residents that did. Kings Park residents get involved this is YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT.
Matt(easy like Sunday morning) January 21, 2012 at 07:46 PM
If the community thinks it has a say on school operations why not eliminate all school administration and allocate 90% of the budget to teaching staff? Why do we accept the status quo? Why do we pay so much for administration in what is a highly bureaucratic monopoly? Let the teachers administer or higher a firm to do so. At this time the reality is that you are paying far more than you should be. Long Island in the near term economically is toast. Schools, Libraries, Police, pensions are going to loot the economy like it or not. pay up suckers From my smartphone
Mike January 21, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Is it not apparent to everyone why Locascio, Motherway and Goldstein voted to extend Agruso’s contract at this time? Motherway has had enough of Weber’s antics, deception and lies and he will probably, and unfortunately, not run again this year. He knows, if given the chance, Weber and his cronies will not renew the superintendent’s contract, even though they all agree she is doing a very good job. Everything Weber does is self serving. He wants everyone to believe he’s looking out for their best interests, when, in fact, he’s looking out for his own ambitious political aspirations. How could anyone have voted to elect this fraudulent person to our school board? Some people are praising him for asking for a performance review of the superintendent, when last month he nominated her for educator of the year honors at a Times of Smithtown breakfast. Why would he feel a need for a performance review after suggesting, just last month, she be recognized as the town’s top educator? It’s because he is as phony as a $3 bill and will do and say anything to further his own personal agenda. Wake up King Park and dump this character off the board before his time is up. He should resign today!
kingsparkresident January 22, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Sally people don't identify themselves in fear of retribution. I know what I have said is correct. I have not seen any comment with regard to how the district has aquired the equipment like smart boards. Why are we patting these people on the back. it's the PTA and the community that hold fund raisers and donate money and items. The budget has gone up 9 million dollars in the last two years and all we have received for it is cuts and larger class sizes. Does Ms. Agruso need a team as large as she has. Eliminating one position would be almost 200,000 dollars. KPY donated 27,000 dollars so there could be a seventh and eighth grade sports team. 200,000 is a significant amount of money that could do alot. by the way in last years budget meeting one of her assistants was given a raise of I believe 14,000 dollars. Again another item that was skipped right over. How sad is it that the community chipped in for the 7th grade team when half of what was needed was spent on a raise. Every single resident should be at those meetings to voice there opinion especially when two seats are up for reelection this year. and to the other gentlemen who spoke about Steve Weber you are correct he did ask for the study to be conducted that he voted against. This is just him trying to get people on his side for the vote.
KpNibbler January 22, 2012 at 06:27 AM
Hmmm...One need not look further than this message board to see how truly divided this town is.Typical small town gossip, big town aspirations.Local politics will always be clicky and serve to benefit the few in the circle, then the town as a whole.I think the majority of us have lives that are busy, important and are too adult to get involved in what boils down to school yard politics. Seems that most of those who claim to be on the "in" grandstand about the children, but really are more concerned about how they look in the towns eyes, or their public appearance.To outsiders like me, some of these so called elected officials really look childish and self serving .I may call myself an outsider, but I've lived here my entire life, been to plenty of these so called meetings, in which suggestions from outsiders are gawked at or completely ignored.Maybe it's time for outsiders to stand up and take control.we need a few people on that board that are not PTA moms or dads, who will voice the concerns of those who do not have children in the district, especially the elderly population and not just live out their own delusions of grandeur.. Maybe when this current click, including Smithtown Government, is done destroying this town and turning it into a ghostly shell of it's former self, Steve Webber can make a youtube video of what used to be the town of Kings Park.Oh and I forgot the bully tactics and threats that are also used against those who speak up.Keep up the good job KP!
KPperson January 22, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I agree with Mrs. Pruslow that public opinion does matter and should be considered before a vote. However, between the flyers, the emails being sent from unhappy sports parents, and postings on Facebook, I do know that the intention was to get an angry crowd at the meeting. I watched the video on the district website. It was a hostile crowd! So I understand why Mr. Motherway would not allow comment till the end. I'm sure everyone at the meeting had a chance to speak with each of the board members on the phone ahead of time. Mr. Weber, Mrs. Barrett and Mr. Locascio stated their cases clearly. So I took the opportunity to call another board member yesterday. You could do the same. What I found out was that the board started discussions on the contract extension in late September. At that time, they were working off a performance evaluation from last spring (or you could say, just a couple of school months before). So why after 4 months and at the time of the vote, did Weber and Barrett ask for a new evaluation? They both agreed that the superintendent was doing a great job this year. The truth is that these two board members have been behind a plan for two years to get the superintendent out. Many people know this already. I'm sure you agree that there is two sides to every story. Its about time everyone hears the truth about what is going on and the characters behind it. Don't you think everyone should have all the facts? Let the truth come out!
Albert Noesei January 22, 2012 at 06:59 PM
What has happened to this district? Unfortunately, the only people who suffer are the children. Take out the games, the politics, the teachers, Agruso, the community, the transportation people, the angry crowd, and the BOE. If you really look at what they have done over the last 8 years it is truly disturbing. We know the economic times are bad. What does this place do, purchase smart boards, purchase a new math program, purchase kindles, build a PLAYGROUND while they excess teachers, try to cut sports, try to cut programs, raise taxes, waste money and then say there is nothing they can do because the state cut aid. These are all lies. They continually waste and mismanagement/misrepresent facts to the community and it is KILLING the kids. Class sizes are out of control, scores will be dropping sooner or later, staff morale is at an all time low and the children are going to fall through the cracks. I also cannot sit here and listen to some nutbag talk about how she does investigations. I mean, is this chick serious? Has nothing to do with right or wrong, it just comes across as almost bi polar disorder when you flip flop back and forth in the same sentence. Also, answering your own posts with more comments comes across as psychotic. Scary stuff man.
Kathleen Uhl January 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Ryan - good point & very funny one at that.
Denise January 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Well the above comments are all disheartening...what a shame that Kings Park has come to such a place. The BOE choose to sit on the Board that is why they run. Simply put they are our voices, yet I believe alot of what is said at the meeting does not count. It is quite a shame and an embarrassement that our community members speak to each other in this fashion, use to be a proud Kings Parker, kind of embarrassed at the moment. I have two children in the school district and would hope that they don't see all these comments which place blame instead of solutions. Shame on you!! Instead of ridiculing each other comments maybe we could use our time more objectively and see how to fix the problems. Blame has never moved anyone or thing forward, only a strong community who focuses on solutions can.
Albert Noesei January 23, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Tricia, Your words do not really offend me. You seem to think you are the only person who knows what is going on in Kings Park. Quick question, do you work in the school district? The answer is no. I actually have several friends who work in the district and several who were excessed from the district. I go by the information that they ALL state as fact. This is from people who WORK in the district. While I certainly find your comments entertaining, much like your failed attempt at getting Agruso out, I think your opinion is pretty useless and fails miserably. Who do you support now and will there be another campaign on your part?
Brian M Clancy January 23, 2012 at 10:11 PM
The board's extension of Dr Agruso's contract was not their only error of the night. They later approved the promotion to full time bus driver, of the LEAST experienced of four candidates. Two of the candidates had at least 2.5 times the experience of the hiree. But once again cronyism won out. The only thing the other three candidates lacked was connections. Hiring bus drivers should be about the safety of the students first and foremost, not about politics
Brian M Clancy January 23, 2012 at 10:19 PM
There was absoultely no need to ram the superintendent's extension through. It should have been done AFTER her review.
Brian M Clancy January 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Lest my previous comments be misinterpreted, the cronyism I referred to did not involve the school board. They are pretty much a rubber stamp in the personnel process, although they should know more. The blame for promoting the least experienced candidate to full time bus driver lies in the bus yard and the administrative offices.
Elizabeth March 26, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Great comment. As a homeowner I want people to see the value of these schools.


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