Clarkstown residents and others are raising questions about the contract the board of education has approved for use of the pool at the Felix Festa Middle School. Resident Julie Globus said a petition concerning the contract and usage of the pool will be presented to the board at its Thursday meeting. She said the petition, which had about 85 signatures as of Monday, is being signed by both Clarkstown residents and parents, whose children have been affiliated with the county’s privately operated swim teams.
The petition comes in the wake of the lawsuit filed by a former coach against one of the swim teams. Parents and officials of the Condors Swim Club, which is based in New City, have been at odds with each other since the swim team fired Coach on April 13. Wagner filed a lawsuit against the team on April 16. Wagner has since joined the New York Sharks as co-head coach.
According to Globus, the purpose of the petition is to draw attention to school board policies and procedures for renting out many facilities including the pool natatorium facility. She describes the policies specifically, the one applicable to the pool as being “outdated and unfair.”
The petition asks that the contract between the district and outside parties for use of the pool at the middle school be overturned. The board approved the current contract at its early July meeting.
The petition lists six issues of contention. Among them is a claim that improper financial benefits may be gained from the contract. Another point states the contract ratified by the board does not maximize the potential use of the pool or its ability to serve as a source of revenue for the district.
The petition charges favoritism and that claims one of the teams using the pool has “more prime-time hours.” than the other. The non-school competitive swim teams, which have had contracts to use the pool, are the Condors Swim Club and New York Sharks. The petition calls for development of a new agreement with the input of parents, the athletic director and varsity swim coaches.
A statement on the Sharks website says no agreement has been signed with the district for the 2012 – 2013 season and it calls for members to attend the school board meeting. However, an online tentative schedule for 2012-2013 shows practices for all days of the week for different groups at the Felix Festa Middle School pool.
Clarkstown School Board member Robert Carlucci founded the Clarkstown Condors swim team approximately 30 years ago. Todd Langenmayer, a Suffern native, started the Rockland Sharks in 2003.
The petition questions why the pool contract was put before the school board for a vote on July 2. Over the past nine years the board had considered it in September based on a recommendation by the superintendent. July 2 was the first board meeting with the district’s new superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton present.
The contract recommendation came from Dr. Margaret Keller-Cogan who completed her term as superintendent in late June. The petition claims the outgoing superintendent was given minimal information to review.
The school board's posted agenda includes setting the tax rate at the Thursday meeting, which begins at 8 p.m.