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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.”

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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