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Freeport School News
February 2003

February 28, 2003
Freeport Superintendent Gives Building
Administrators In School Detention
February 28, 2003
Where's The Good News?

February 12, 2003 (Posted Feb 21)
Freeport School Board Stabs Residents In Back
Superintendents Get 30% Raises As Residents Sleep

February 28, 2003

Freeport Superintendent Gives Building Administrators In School Detention

by Stewart S Lilker
Click here to go to photos

In what has clearly become one of the most absurd and mindless wastes of manpower ever instituted in any school district, Freeport's Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Eric Eversley, continues giving his building administrators in school detention.

After being let go by Eastern Suffolk BOCES, a fact never made public by Freeport's desperate Board of Education, Eversley was hired in Freeport, effective July 2001.

Before the reign of Eversley, building administrators attended board meetings when they were needed, such as on school report card night. About six months after Eversley's reign began, your reporter began noticing the sudden appearance of a bevy of building administrators at the board meetings, finally asking one of them (name withheld) if "they" had been ordered to come. The response: "Na, I like being here. I have nothing better to do on a Wednesday night." Your reporter asked other building administrators if they were ordered to attend the meetings. They just smiled and turned away. None of them looked very happy. None would admit to being ordered to attend.

After one of the meetings, your reporter asked Eversley if he had ordered the building administrators to be in attendance. He said, "Yes I did."

The February 26, 2003 Board meeting was billed as a "Budget Workshop." Of course, the Superintendent didn't have a budget, using the same excuse as his buddies in Freeport Village Hall, "It's a work in progress."

What should have been a fifteen minute budget presentation, took an hour and a half to present, as Kishore Kuncham, the Assistant Supt. of Business, presented a slide show that was included in a hand out.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the Board questioned the Administration for another forty-five minutes. Not surprisingly, no one on the Board asked for a budget.

Eversley, who repeatedly claimed that he wants the public to be involved, did not mention his disappointment that only one village resident showed up for the meeting. The District has over eight thousand students.

By 9:30 p.m., the building administrators couldn't hide their discomfort. Some of them had been in school since 6:30 a.m. Captured against their will, was a group representing over a million dollars of combined salaries, doing everything they could to keep from going comatose.

Instead of suffering in-house detention, these administrators could have been going over lesson plans; attendance records; disciplinary problems; building maintenance; personnel issues or just plain sleeping at home in their own beds.

 

February 28, 2003

Where's The Good News?

This week Thomas Butler of Freeport wrote:

I was just curious after reading your article about the recent board meeting where the good news was. After all there was a 15 minute presentation and recognition of five new members being inducted into the Leo F. Giblyn Chapter of the National Honor Society. However, I was saddened to see that there was no mention of the admirable achievement of these five students or the support of the 50 present members of the Honor Society who welcomed the new inductees. Maybe I am wrong, but if you really want to make Freeport a better place you should point out the achievements of the future of Freeport instead of continuously pointing out the bad, it would be a much needed moral boast.

Dear Mr. Butler:

Thank you for your interest in FreeportNYNews.com and Freeport. Freeport is a unique community whose possibilities are endless, but it hasn't any effective leadership.

SUMMER COMMENCEMENT HAS STUDENTS SMILING August 29, 2001

National High School Honor Society Induction - Freeport High School Class of 2000 (Feb. 16,2000)

Adam Gaffney's Valedictorian Speech June 25, 2000

National Junior High School Honor Society Induction, Dodd Jr. High School (October 20, 1999) 
The Article; The New Inductees

Unfortunately, I arrived late at the Feb. 12 Board meeting due to the impossible parking situation. I was saddened not to have been able to cover the Honor Society induction and have always tried to cover such events in the past, as time permitted..

Freeport's present Superintendent, Dr. Eric Eversley and the Board, has made it particularly difficult for FNYN to get access to any information, particularly good news.

One of the first things I did after Eversley officially took over the reigns of the District was ask that the District's press releases, which everyone knows generally are only good news, be sent to FNYN. This request was also made of Board members and has been repeated many times over.

Indeed, the request for press releases was also made to the Village. When this request was politely made of Pat Murphy, the Village's Press Officer, I was told to leave her office or she would call the police. Ms. Murphy has repeated this bizarre behavior on more than one occasion.

It was explained to both the District and the Village that FreeportNYNews.com has requests for over 10,000 pages per month, well over the readership of the Village's Official publication, The Leader. The possibility also exists that for pure Freeport news, we might also have more readership that Newsday, who has had no problem freely stealing our information. (Newsday Reporter Withholds Facts - Steals Words).

I am sorry that we cannot print school district and village releases. Press releases are meant for everybody. It appears that Freeport's governments are not all that anxious to have their version of "good"  news in any publication that will not lick their boots. That is unfortunate.

by Stewart S Lilker (Pub/Ed)

 

February 12, 2003 (Posted Feb 21)

Freeport School Board Stabs Residents In Back
Superintendents Get 30% Raises As Residents Sleep
 

By Stewart S. Lilker


Click to enlarge

The Atkinson Library was packed to the ..

The saga of one of Long Island's most inept and unresponsive school districts continued on February 12, 2003, as the "Helter Skelter" Board of Education made a midnight run and just moments before midnight, passed monumental raises for the district's two Assistant Superintendents as the community slept.

The secretiveness of Freeport's Superintendent and Board of Education was demonstrated once again, as the evening's agenda, published on the district's web site, lacked any substantive mention of the raises the district's Assistant Superintendents were about to receive.

This kind of surprise attack is nothing new for Freeport. In July of 2002, Superintendent Eversley was awarded a contractual merit raise from $168,000 to $175,000, in spite of the fact that he did not fulfill the requirements of his contract. Then, without any public notice, the Board astounded the public by tacking on an additional 2% merit increase. Neither the Board, nor Eversley, despite repeated requests from the public, have ever explained the rationale for his additional merit raise.

When the President of the Freeport Teachers Union, Lillian Guttman, asked Eversley to explain the Assistant Superintendents' raises, Eversley, who has taken to running the district by press releases, gave an incomprehensible explanation of their salaries and contracts, finally stating in frustration, "I'm looking at the press release."

Eversley fumbled for awhile, then ignoring the fact that the public approved the 2002/03 salaries in the budget vote, claimed, "The conversations with the Board started in the summer or late summer."

Historically, the Freeport Board of Education, encouraged by the NYS Department of Education, has held secret board meetings, made up resolutions and kept inaccurate board minutes. There is no mention in any of the 2002 Board minutes of the Central Administrators ever negotiating with the Board.

Board President Coward jumped into the fray, trying to bail out Superintendent Eversley. She explained that previous board did not operate in the sunshine. She said, "I know that because I was a party to it?" "I am a believer in the Open Meeting Law."

Coward then blasted former interim Superintendent, David Nydick, who had previously led the Jericho School District, as it became one of the highest performing district's on Long Island.


Click to enlarge

School Bd. member Sunday Coward ...

She said, "Those things while in the budget, were done by Mr. Nydick. Those contracts were approved in a session that was not abiding by the Open Meeting Laws. People would get increases and there was no record of it. You can FOIL all day and you will never find a record. I sat in that room and said it was wrong and I was told, "'Well, you only have one vote, so we're going to do this anyway, before a new board comes in.'" "I was there and that's how it was done."

Coward continued, "We are righting a wrong. You cannot go back and take back people's money. This was something that was given and when someone made a mistake, that is not for us to go back to give it back. We have now put things in writing."

Eversley said, "What we would like to is sort of set the record straight."

When it came time to vote on the resolution, Board member Raab made another of the Board's infamous illegal motions. The motion was so obfuscated that nobody on the board seemed to know what it was for.

A confused Coward asked, "What is the matter that we are going into executive session to discuss?"

Raab answered, "An issue of personnel regarding compensation of employees."

Coward said, "I really have some concerns about this. I don't believe it can be done to go into executive session to talk about these --unintelligible-- It just doesn't seem right. It's not appropriate and I would ask you to reconsider. I believe it is illegal."

Raab then tried to take his motion back and Board member Ellerbe explained that he couldn't do that.

As the Board got up to go into executive session, Coward said, "We'll go into executive session and if it's deemed it's inappropriate, we'll be back."

Ellerbe, a dissenting vote, refused to attend the illegal executive session.

Five minutes after they left, the Board returned. Raab memorialized the Board's illegal activity. "For the record we had a discussion in the back that we were going to come back out here."

When the motion came up for a vote, in typical Freeport fashion, the democratic process went out the window.

There was illegal whispering and inaudible cross talk. After some time the board got around to voting. As usual, it was impossible to hear who voted for what. When it appeared that even the Board members didn't know what was going on, a member of the public asked the clerk to poll the board. Coward called the resident out of order. The resident told Coward it was an open meeting and that everyone must be able to hear the vote.

It didn't make a difference. The board began whispering among themselves. Eventually, Superintendent Eversley joined in the inaudible conversation. Finally, he spoke up. He tried to explain the resolutions to the Board. It was clear that he didn't really understand them, either.

The Board voted. The clerk refused to poll the board. It was impossible to hear the vote. The Board went back to their whispering. After some time it was announced that the raises were defeated. The resolution failed for failure to get a majority. The vote was: Coward - for; Cattano - against; Ellerbe - for; Raab and Pineyro abstaining (without reason).

The meeting sped to an end. Coward concluded with another illegal motion to enter into executive session. Coward moved "to discuss negotiations and now four matters of personnel." The illegal motion passed unanimously.

Your reporter had an uneasy feeling that the Board was about to perform another one of their sneak attacks on a sleeping public and camped outside the Board room.

At 11:45 p.m. the Board went back into open meeting and approved the raises. The motion was clearly illegal, as it violated the district policy. It made no difference and no one said anything.

Board member Joe Cattano was the only one who had the common sense and courage to vote against the illegal raises. After the vote, Cattano, visibly upset, put on his coat and left the building.

Assistant Superintendent of Personnel, Mary Bediako, ended up with a 9.3% raise for the year, retroactive to July, 1, 2003, the date the approved budget went into effect. In the past three years, Bediako's salary has gone from $95,000 to $128,960 for an effective three year increase of 35%.

Assistant Superintendent of Business, Kishore Kuncham, also didn't make out too shabbily. Kuncham's voter approved 2002/03 salary went from $135,250 to $144,717 for a one year increase of 7%, once again proving that budget votes in Freeport are meaningless. Kuncham's three year increase was not to shabby either, with the Board giving him a 28% increase over the past three years.

With State and Federal aid on the decline and raises for the top brass of the district running 300% a year over the rate of inflation, Freeport's residents will be sure to be once again reaching deep into their pockets at tax time.

 

 

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