Fairness of Clarkstown District’s Pool Contract Questioned

Petition asks school board for review of agreement allowing usage of Felix Festa Middle School Pool


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  She describes the policies specifically, the one applicable to the pool as being “outdated and unfair.”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. 

The Real Mary Smith August 14, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I thought the Director of Aquatics, Chris Serra does the contract and than it goes to the board of education for approval?
Boardwatcher August 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Apparently The Condors in the local swimming community are viewed as "a Clarkstown Swim Program" while the New York Sharks are looked at as a "Tappan Zee, Pearl River, and New Jersey" swim club. The Condors service several hundred Clarkstown residence while The New York Sharks service fewer than 20. I would think these numbers played into how the pool time was distributed.
Robert Ward Kurkela August 14, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I have asked the New York Sharks to please tell us how many in their club reside in Clarkstown. I have yet to receive a response. I also emailed Chris Serra and he, too, has not responded. I am a taxpayer and I want an answer from them. Chris, do you represent CCSD or the Sharks? Coach Wagner has now initiated his THIRD lawsuit. Here are links to the first two: http://txstage.ny.atl.publicus.com/article/20031219/NEWS/31219001?Title=-FONT-COLOR-ff0000-BREAKING-NEWS-FONT-Former-swimming-coach-files-suit-against-UA http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tuscaloosanews.com%2Farticle%2F20050616%2FNEWS%2F506160360&h=uAQHshx77AQFEZWZ36P8_mXZZzWqQ7AxE2fOPFXrtosSsiw
Watchdog August 15, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Can Clarkstown residents use this pool?
David B. August 15, 2012 at 05:17 AM
Yeah the pool is open tues/thurs nights and weekend afternoons for Clarkstown residents.
Marvin Jones August 15, 2012 at 06:18 PM
If you are going to make changes to the text of an article, the least you can do is note that the article has been edited. Otherwise, people have no way of knowing that you have corrected inaccuracies in your original article. I see that you corrected the fact that the Sharks show scheduled pool use 7 days a week and not just 2 as reported yesterday, but no other factual inaccuracies were corrected. I understand you wouldn't want to point out errors in your own reporting, but when you make mistakes, own up to them.
RCParent August 15, 2012 at 07:34 PM
For readers interested in the truth, check out past board meeting minutes with regards to pool/facilities use. Since Bob Carlucci has been on the board the Condors (and all users) have been subject to a large rental increase AND the Condors seem to have less pool time than they did when he wasn't on the board - really doesn't appear to an educated person that he is trying to influence the board in anyway to benefit the swim club.
William Demarest (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Patch Users: Please refer to our Terms of Use policy about comments posted on articles. http://newcity.patch.com/terms. We welcome lively discussion of important local issues, but this is not a forum for personal attacks.
Robert Ward Kurkela August 16, 2012 at 06:12 AM
I inquired of the Sharks via their Facebook page (2 comments) how many Sharks reside in Clarkstown. I received no response. I emailed Chris Serra, Director of Physical Education and Aquatics at Felix Festa, and asked him how many Sharks and how many Condors reside in Clarkstown. I received no response. I then contacted J.P. Carlucci, President of the Condors, and asked him how many Condors reside in Clarkstown. He answered me and I asked him further questions. He answered ALL of them: 1)The Condors have 500 registered kids in their swim program at Felix Festa. Approximately 400 (80%) of them are Clarkstown residents. 2)The Condors are receiving the SAME pool time the upcoming year as they did before Bob Carlucci was elected to the Board of Education. 3)The Condors are receiving LESS pool time the upcoming year than they had for the past two years. 4)The Condors pool rates have INCREASED 28% since Bob Carlucci was elected to the Board of Education. 5)The Condors hours past, present and future at Felix Festa are: 2009-2010 5:30pm-8:00pm 2010-2011 5:00pm-8:00pm 2011-2012 5:00pm-8:00pm 2012-2013 5:30pm-8:00pm The bottom line here is that the Condors receive NO "favoritism."
Marvin Jones August 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Can someone provide an update as to what transpired at the Board meeting on this issue? How was the petition received by the Board?
VS Wickett August 20, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Mr. Jones, it is my understanding from someone who attended that the matter remains unresolved. It is not clear whether or not the Board intends to do something.
SportsFan August 20, 2012 at 08:37 PM
The contract between the Condors and CCSD for the use of the pool is a firm deal through June 30, 2013. The policy for how pool time is assigned may be reviewed, but frankly there is no need for this and a waste of tax-payers time and money. The Condors have 30 Clarkstown swimmers on their roster for every one that the Sharks have. See link: http://newcity.patch.com/articles/fairness-of-clarkstown-district-s-pool-contract-questioned-70658da9
SportsFan August 20, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Additionally, it should not vo unnoticed by tbe general Clarkstown public that not one member of the Condors stood up and wasted valuable school board time. The Condors have taken the high road and let their roster numbers speak for themselves. The Clarkstown tax payers should not allow the bullying tactics of the Sharks membership base distract them from the truth - The Condors hold back the majority of Clarkstown swimmers, without question (was 100% verified by USA Swimming) and will continue to receive prime-time use of the facilities when it does not conflict with community swim time and CCSD athletic events.
SportsFan August 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
http://ccsd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=114 Sorry readers, wrong link was inserted in a comment posted above by me. What is here in this post is the accurate link to the CCSD school board meeting from the 16th.
Robin Traum (Editor) August 20, 2012 at 09:35 PM
VS The board president said the issue would be reviewed. No timetable was provided for when an update might be available. Robin
LawWatcher August 21, 2012 at 02:05 PM
SportsFan, no one from Condors stood up because after the young man who spoke finished speaking there was little anyone could have said that would have made sense. If the Condors are claiming 500 members, I really wonder whether their records accord with IRS filings. I find it very interesting that I tried to post this same comment yesterday and it was removed. I would be willing to be that the filings with the IRS do not support the 500 members that Condors Swim Club is claiming. Moreover, their own records of swim meet attendance do not support that number either.
Boardoverseer August 21, 2012 at 06:21 PM
There is a Pool Access Agreement for Felix Festa signed by both the Condors' & the Sharks' Presidents and the President of the Board of Education at the time at the January 11, 2007 Board of Education meeting. The terms of the agreement are binding and there is no expiration date. The Sharks are not adhering to this agreement. This is where the agreement is: Subject 8.10 Approval of Pool Access Agreement between the Condors Swim Club, Inc. and The New York Sharks Aquatics, Inc. Meeting Jan 11, 2007 - Regular Board Meeting 8:00 P.M. Chestnut Grove Administrative Center Board Conference Room Category 8. New Business Type Action, Action (Consent) Approval of Pool Access Agreement between the Condors Swim Club, Inc. and The New York Sharks Aquatics, Inc. http://www.boarddocs.com/ny/clarkcsd/Board.nsf/Public# President Malgieri has no obligation to have a committee review the request by the Sharks but he is doing it anyway. Kudos to him and the rest of the board for promoting unity in the district. The hard copy of the agreement is being circulated among swim families or you can call district offices at 639-6300 and learn how you can obtain your own copy.
SportsFan August 22, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Additionally, LawWatcher, it is my understanding from what I have read that the Condors have provided swim program services to 500 Clarkstown residents - there was never a claim by them that they were all competitive swimmers. I may be wrong, but don't the Condors also have a learn-to-swim program? According to their website they do - are they not allowed to include those clients as part of their roster since they reside within Clarkstown? Their name is Condors Swim Club of Clarkstown - not Condors Competitive Team ONLY of Clarkstown. I think that most people would agree that providing such an extensive lesson program within our community is extremely valuable and the Sharks are trying to take that away from the community to benefit only it's competitive team. I watched the video of the board meeting, didn't young Mr. Furey say he would not be able to compete for the swim team if he had to practice so late at night? It is not about competition it is about what is best for the community and there is no doubt that the Condors are doing something that is valuable and worth-while for the community we live in. Leave the Condor's pool time alone - the Sharks have use of two other pools - so use them.
Boardwatcher August 22, 2012 at 02:50 PM
It's interesting how two people can watch something and have entirely different reads on what they saw. LawWatcher gives her version and all I saw was a young man being exploited by adults to do their bidding. I found it sad on several different levels.


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