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Top Five Wantagh-Seaford School Stories of 2011[POLL]

A year in review with the biggest new happenings affecting local schools.

There was plenty of big news in 2011 related to both the Wantagh and Seaford school districts.

Seaford dealt with a the challenge of operating on a contingency budget while Wantagh faced some major administrative changes. Here is a look at what Wantagh-Seaford Patch views as the top five local school stories 2011. 

No. 5 — 

The organization Save Seaford Sports was established during the summer of raising the $141,000 needed to restore the  winter and spring athletic seasons after they were cut from the budget. The organization has so far  to restore the first part of the winter middle school athletics season.

No. 4 — 

The Wantagh Board of Education decided not to bring back longtime  varsity football head coach Keith Sachs for a 21st season in the spring. The decision led Wantagh football players and athletic supporters to hold a  and then  the June 16 Board of Education meeting voicing support for Sachs, who went 109-66-1 in 19 seasons including capturing a Long Island Class III title in 2001. Coaching veteran Tom Casey to replace Sachs and Wantagh to the 2011 Nassau County Conference II title game.

No. 3 –

Seaford Board of Education trustees Michael Sapraicone and John DelGuidice both resigned their seats in 2011. DelGuidice  at the July 7 reorganization meeting and Sapraicone  on Sept. 16 effective at the end of business on Oct. 6. Jeanmarie Wink and Annalisa Siracusa Antonette were by the school board to replace Sapraicone and DelGuidice on Oct. 6.

No. 2 — 

Wantagh Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lydia Begley resigned her position on Sept. 26 for an  with Nassau BOCES. Dr. Richard Marsh to be interim superintendent for the remainder of the school year until a permanent replacement for Begley is found. Wantagh Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Patricia Krizan and Athletic Director Dan Butler in 2011.

No. 1-

Seaford voters rejected proposed spending plans on  and  forcing the district to operate on a contingency budget for the first time in six years. The budget rejections caused many cuts including the  winter and spring athletic seasons.

Did we miss a story you think should have been mentioned? Tell us in the comments.

Chris Wendt December 30, 2011 at 12:08 PM
The upper echelons of Seaford and Wantagh school districts are in disarray. In addition to the Superintendent, Wantagh lost the Assistant Superintendent, Middle School Principal and Athletic Director. The two top people accepted salary freezes before quitting. The MS Principal declined comment about leaving, and the Athletic Director quit after the Football Coach change. Wantagh has an interim Super and the BoE just started looking for a permanent replacement. This challenge requires a strong leader. Seaford losing two board members is not new. In 2005, the President and VP quit amidst an investigation of reserves by the DA. The business official retired suddenly and the Super concluded his career at the end of that school year. Patch’s take that Seaford was “forced to a contingency budget” insulates the school board from ownership of the problem, implying that outside forces had a hand in the budget outcome. The BoE failed to successfully engage their unions for concessions, after the BoE had previously agreed to unsustainable wage/benefit packages with those same unions. Under the law, and in every other way, the Board of Education owns the school district budget. Fundraising to save sports from the school board’s decision to cut sports is commendable, and worth the community’s wholehearted support. But everyone should resist the temptation to deflect this sorry predicament as accidental, or, caused by anyone other than the school board themselves.
Wayne Smith December 30, 2011 at 03:24 PM
With regard to Seaford's contingency budget: a number of people made the observation that it really didn't make sense when voters rejected the re-proposed budget, given that in dollar terms, it wasn't much different from the contingency budget alternative. While true, what the budget votes in Seaford showed was how angry and frustrated the community has become in the aftermath of a 14% increase in the school levy over two years. In addition, there continues to be much anger over the manner in which the current teacher's contract was approved by the board - to say nothing of the union's perceived unwillingness to offer meaningful concessions. While many in the community spoke up about high taxes at budget review meetings, and still others complained about the way the teacher's contract was handled (full disclosure, I was one of them), many believe that their concerns were ignored. Indeed, many still feel that way. I would guess that members of the Board see things differently, but that just tells you how much of a disconnect there is between the Board and the community.
Joe December 30, 2011 at 03:41 PM
Wayne you hit it right on the head.
Lorraine DeVita January 02, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Chris, You state the board "owns" the budget, well Seaford residents need to "own" the board who "own" the budget. These people are voted in by the residents. WE the residents have to take ownership of the fact the WE placed these people on the Board who for all intent purposes just rubber stamped an administrative rookies budget. Today Seafords current board of five consists of 2 which were hand picked by the Board under a very opaque cloak of secrecy with STRONG Administration input & NO input from the community at large. While one of several options available to them,it once again wasnt the WISEST way to proceed. I agree wth Wayne this Board has a serious disconnect with the MAJORITY of this community and is in serious denial of how THEIR actions impact this community as a whole. This community needs to also understand that OUR actions when we vote people on the Board GREATLY impact our own future.

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