By Eli Ruiz
LAKE HUNTINGTON July 12, 2005 In an emotionally charged meeting of the Sullivan West School Board on Thursday, a 7-2 vote defeated a motion to rescind the June 2 vote to close the Delaware Valley and Narrowsburg campuses.
Board members Jennifer Mann and Shawn Bailey, who introduced the resolution, were the only two in favor of rescinding the closure vote.
Witnessing the vote was a crowd of dozens many of whom carried handmade signs championing the reopening of the Narrowsburg and Delaware Valley campuses.
The meeting itself lasted over five hours, during a portion of which the public lambasted the board and Superintendent Alan Derry.
Mileses resident Shannon Bailey questioned Derrys accuracy about new bus routes and the time that students would be spending on buses.
She also attacked the boards integrity due to an emergency executive session that was called before a June 29 meeting.
In what Bailey called a sneaky meeting, Derry was granted a 2.5 percent pay raise.
I have a serious problem with Mr. Derry getting a pay raise when this district is in such dire financial straits, said Bailey.
Kevin Mann of Narrowsburg chastised the board for its strange use of numbers regarding the busing issues and student population at the Narrowsburg campus.
On the flip side, Linda Pomes of Cochecton Center spoke of the same people who fought in 1997 to create the new district now fighting amongst each other to close it down.
We wanted smaller class sizes and competitive athletic teams, and thats what we got, said Pomes. We may lose everything we have worked for just for a 70-student school in Narrowsburg.
In other business, the board conducted its yearly reorganization, swearing in two new members: Jennifer Mann and Anna Niemann. Rich Sandler and Regina Wagner were sworn in as president and vice president respectively.
The board approved a measure to rent out part of the Delaware Valley campus to Callicoons Delaware Valley Job Corps Center for $6,000 a month, or $36,000 for six months.
The board also defeated a motion 6-3 asking the office of State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi to investigate the circumstances giving rise to the districts current financial condition, and be it further resolved that said investigation comprise, but not be limited to, full examinations and audits of the processes by which the State Education Department approved construction of the new high school and renovations to the existing school buildings, and the processes by which the construction and renovations proceeded from initial project design through to completion of the projects, including an accounting for the costs thereof.
The three votes for the measure came from Rich Sandler, Arthur Norden and Shawn Bailey the same three who had supported the measure before its tabling last month.
Resolution 6.2 passed unanimously, however. This resolution directs the President and Superintendent of Schools to present to New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer information and documentation about the construction project of the Sullivan West High School for the purpose of investigating the business practices and professional services provided in fulfilling contractual obligations on the part of the Hillier Architectural Firm and Turner Construction Company, respectively, and to bring about the recovery of monies that may be owed to the taxpayers of the district and the State of New York as a consequence of any performance failures under the contractual obligations assumed by Hillier and Turner.
Also noteworthy was the boards 5-4 vote against a resolution that would authorize the superintendent to execute a proposal with Thornton-Tomasetti Group for civil engineering services for the high school.
The board decided to discuss the measure further in an executive session at a later date.