The 2012-2013 contract for swim club usage of the Felix Festa Middle School pool, which the Clarkstown School Board approved in July, remains effective. Board President Joe Malgieri made that point during Thursday night’s meeting.
“The board of education is not voting on anything tonight,” he said.
After hearing district Aquatics Director on the current contract and comments from parents with children enrolled in the Condors Swim Club and New York Sharks, board members asked for additional information.
Malgieri asked Serra to obtain the total number of swimmers in each club including their learn to swim programs and through their competitive level older swimmers and how many of those members are Clarkstown residents. Clarkstown Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities & Fiscal Management John LaNave said he had already received rosters from both clubs and verifying residency with the school district’s registrar. Malgieri also asked LaNave to determine how much had been collected in pool fees from each club over the past three years.
When asked if there would be another public meeting for the Sharks to present their registration figures, Malgieri said all information should be given to Serra who would present it to the board.
Serra said his presentation included a new framework for pool use with a focus on how to equitably allocate the most desired timeslots of 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday and weekend morning. He put forward two options for dividing up those times based on the number of Clarkstown School District residents on each team. Serra said he conferred with 30 or more parents from both teams on whether the proposal was fair and said no one disagreed.
Dozens of parents from both swim teams filled the board’s meeting room to hear the presentation. Malgieri limited the number of speakers to three from each team.
One Shark parent said the new proposal from Serra was the opposite of what the board approved.
“You’ve put together a proposal that is truly inclusive,” Matt Govern said. “The previous resolution was completely one sided.”
Dr. Sophie Andjelic of Nanuet, whose child swims with the Condors, felt differently about the recommendations.
“This is bullying on the adult level,” she said. “We’ve been bullied out of the pool.”
Parents from both the Condors and Sharks said the disagreement and animosity between the adults over pool time slots has led to friction and harassment of children who swim for the different teams.
Serra said some of the changes included in the proposal are that school and community swim times would not be reduced, each club would get more swim time than it currently has and the district would get more revenue if the clubs shared the pool at the same time.
Board member Wendy Adolff asked how many children could potentially be in the pool’s 16 lanes and on the pool deck at the same time. She questioned whether the environment would be unproductive and chaotic.
“I don’t know if sharing the facility is actually the best solution,” she said.
Serra said 160 competitive swimmers could be in the pool at the same time and 650 swimmers are allowed on the pool deck.
Condors President J.P. Carlucci said neither group saw the current contract before the board vote on it. He contradicted some of Serra’s remarks as to how the proposal came about, saying he never spoke with Serra on the phone and they were not in daily email contact. Carlucci referred to some of the changes in the proposed ways to allocate the timeslots as steps taken to appease the Sharks.