Both Wantagh and Seaford had plenty of big school-related news in 2012.
Seaford voters passed an important referendum authorizing the sale of a former elementary school while Wantagh dealt with a series of changes in its top administrative post. Both districts also faced challenges in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Here is a look at what Wantagh-Seaford Patch views as the top five local school stories for 2012.
No. 5 — Wantagh Community Rallies to Restore Beloved School Custodian's Job
A beloved autistic custodian at Wantagh Middle School, who garnered widespread community support after being fired from his job, received his position back after the board of education decided to re-hire him on Sept. 21 pending the outcome of a mental health evaulation. Turner, 45, was previously let go by the district because of alleged threatening remarks he made about harming school property during an outburst to students in July while walking home after being bullied earlier in the day. The prevous firing of Turner, who has been a fixture at Wantagh school events through the years, prompted hundreds to flock the Sept. 13 board of education meeting voicing support for him getting his job back.
No. 4 — Seaford Gets Off Contingency With Passed Budget
The Seaford School District moved off contingency in May when voters approved its proposed $57.8 million budget by 504 votes. Last year, Seaford voters rejected two budget proposals, which forced the district to operate on a contingency plan for the 2011-12 school year.
No. 3 – A Sudden Wantagh Superintendent Change
The Wantagh Board of Education hired Phil D. D'Angelo Jr. as its new superintendent on May 2 but then in September voted to place him on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons. Longtime Forest Lake Elementary School Principal Maureen Goldberg then assumed the responsibilities of acting Superintendent of Schools. Earlier in the year, Wantagh Interim Superintendent Dr. Richard Marsh, who had filled in for the departed Lydia Begley, resigned after five months for personal health reasons and was replaced by the distirct's former superintendent, Carl Bonuso.
No. 2 — Seaford Avenue School Referendum Approved
Seaford School District voters approved a referendum on Dec. 12 for a a proposed 55 and older condominium development at the former Seaford Avenue School property. The approved referendum on the $5 million Seaford Avenue School property sale to BK at Seaford, LLC authorizes the developer to construct up to 112 two-bedroom units on the 5.66-acre property if zoning approval is granted by the Town of Hempstead. The Seaford Avenue School was closed by the district in 1981 and leased to Five Towns College until 1992 and then to Nassau BOCES until 2010 and has lay vacant since then.
No. 1- Schools Closed for Serveral Days Due to Superstorm Sandy
Both the Seaford and Wantagh school districts were forced to shut down for several days following damage to the area caused by Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29. The Wantagh School District missed seven days of instruction as a result of the superstorm and a Nov. 6 nor'easter and decided to cancel February break to make up the time. Seaford is planning to make up six missed days of instruction from the superstorm and nor'easter during part of February vacation from Feb. 20-22 as well as March 25 and April 1-2, which were designated on the calendar as emergency makeup days.
Do you agree with the order of our list or did we miss a story you think should have been mentioned? Tell us in the comments.