Pool Contract Remains Effective, More Info Sought

Proposal for updating agreement presented to Clarkstown School Board meets with some opposition, acceptance and questions.


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.


Jonathan Swift September 07, 2012 at 12:37 PM
As mainly a Town Board Observer I decided to attend last night's meeting for the School Board due to the 1% tax issue. Observations: Who are these Sharks parents? They were very disrespectful and were talking during Mr. Lanave's presentation. I was hoping they would be silenced by a board member. I'm sorry, their pool issue pales in comparison to the tax issue. Next time they rally the troops for their cause they should act like adults and not bullies. Dr. Sophie Andjelic is right. They are bullies and terrible role models for our children. Do we really want these parents in Felix Festa? I say no way. Where was Board member Kevin Grogan? An issue as important as this 1% tax issue and he doesn't attend the meeting? That's unacceptable. As a taxpayer I want to know what his excuse was. Can the Patch find this out for us?
FairnessandIntegrity September 07, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Town Board Observor? Who appointed you to that position? Mr. LeNave did not make a presentation. Dr. Serra made the presentation. He presented on behalf of both clubs so no one was interrupting him. Mr. LeNave was referred to as the "Bean Counter" and asked to provide information and there was no one interrupting him either. Bullying is not a word that should be used in this context. Both teams are being asked to SHARE THE POOL! It is a matter of fairness. So, your child has a toy and a younger child is born. The younger child wants to play with older child's toy. Do you not try to convince the older child to share his toy with the little one? That's absurd.
Marvin Jones September 07, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Fairness and integrity - Town Board Observer is talking about a presentation made by Mr. Lenave regarding the school tax processing fee imposed by the Town of Clarkstown made after Dr. Serra's presentation. Dr. Serra's presentation was not "on behalf" of either club as he is an employee of the Clarkstown School District and as such is ultimately accountable to the Superintendent. Is there any rationale why the pool usage policy should be different than the policy for access to all District facilities? In comparing to toys, I would say that I certainly wouldn't give something that has not been earned to either child simply as result of a temper tantrum!
Jonathan Swift September 07, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Mr. Lanave sure did give a presentation and regardless of what you say the Sharks parents were disrespectful. I really didn't want to address the pool presentation but you brought it up. Dr. Serra shouldn't have presented on behalf of both clubs because that is not his job. If he is siding with any side that is a serious conflict of interest. Based on the closing statement by Condors President Carlucci it appears Dr. Serra was not truthful when he said he was in direct contact with both clubs. I would love to see a record of phone calls and emails between the Condors and Dr. Serra. So, is he representing the district as he should be or the Sharks? Also, when questioned by President Malgieri and Trustee Adolff Dr. Serra couldn't answer simple questions like how many from each club live in Clarkstown. He arbitrarily changed a number from 25 to 50 with regards to head counts and couldn't state why. Comparing kids being in a pool to kids being on athletic fields outside to emphasize that many kids can use the pool at the same time was ridiculous. A shameful analogy.
RCParent September 08, 2012 at 05:14 AM
Dr. Serra conveniently leaves out in his discussion about revenue one major point with regards to the Sharks. Let me elaborate, The Sharks have had access to the Felix Festa pool on various days and various timeslots over the past 7 years. In many cases during the past several years the Sharks have abandoned their time slot leaving the district with no renters (meaning NO REVENUE) during these time slots. The Condors have been a consistent renter and a consistent revenue generator to CCSD for ALL 7 years! The Condors raised money to purchase new lane lines to replace the old ones that were in desperate need of repair. The Condors donated those lane lines to CCSD. The Condors donate the use of their timing systems, touch pads and other equipment for use at EVERY varsity home meet. The Condors purchased and installed electronic pace clocks throughout the entire pool area. It is clear that the Condors intentions are to be a positive influence on the Clarkstown community. Hopefully, the school board will consider ALL of the pertinent facts when considering Dr. Serra's proposal and then throw it in the trash, where it belongs.
SportsFan September 08, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Town Board Observer, you will have to forgive Fairnessandintegrity - the group represented by the comments of this individual wouldn't know that Mr. LaNave gave a presentation because as soon as they clapped and cheered for Chris Serra and the issues were no longer of concern to them - they simply left the board room.
Jonathan Swift September 09, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I sure hope the Board and Superintendent keep in their minds the lack of respect shown by these individuals. I also hope they look into what Mr. Carlucci stated about Dr. Serra: “He never spoke with Serra on the phone and they were not in daily email contact.” This is what Dr. Serra stated in his presentation: “Since my initial July 16 meeting, I have continued to be in communication with members of both groups almost on a daily basis.” So, what’s the real story?
Jonathan Swift September 09, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Wow. How could all of this be left out of Dr. Serra's presentation? Who is influencing him? Sounds like there is sound reason for an internal district investigation. If the Sharks are influencing Dr. Serra this needs to be discovered. I don't believe Dr. Serra was in "communication" with members of each group "almost on a daily basis." Wouldn't that be something: the Sharks allege favoritism and they actually have the Director of Aquatics in their pocket. Something is rotten with all of this. I bet the reason why Dr. Serra "protected" the names of the people he spoke to is because there are NO Condors who were contacted. Mr. Malgieri and Dr. Morton, please delve deeper. Thank you.
Jonathan Swift September 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The following was posted in the Facebook group Clarkstown Parents to Save our Schools. I reviewed the board video and the transcript is accurate: http://ccsd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=118 [40:56] Malgeri: What made you change to 50? Serra: That's a very fair question. In the research that I conducted and the 30 plus people I talked to they felt that that 25 was probably not a effective number for balancing out both groups. 25 was the original number I used as its the average class size in the district. It's also the average number of athletes we have on an athletic team so I thought that number was very good. In speaking to several individuals they felt 'I don't think you'll ever really have an opportunity for one group to switch its majority/minority status. So I doubled it and made it 50. That's just a number I really picked out. I don't have any solid data to back up why I picked that number. ---------- [41:50] Serra: I am not an expert in swimming, but I'm knowledgeable in the sport, but I will tell you that four competitive swimmers typically take up one lane. In a learn to swim program... Carlucci: That's way off Serra: Ok. Double it, 8, how's that, is that more fair? Yes, no, is that more fair? Adolff: What number? Serra: 8, you want to say 8? Carlucci: I would say 8 to 10. Serra: Ok, that's fine. I'm asking you. As I said, I'm not the expert in swimming. So, let's have 10. ----------
Jonathan Swift September 15, 2012 at 04:33 PM
[42:40] Conti: Chris, can you back and explain where you came up with 50 for the number for the residents? So you can't confirm that there are 50 residents on either team? Serra: No, I'm not suggesting that at all. I can't ahhh... The number 50 had nothing to do with the amount of residents on a particular team. It had to do with trying to find a fair number that would allow groups the opportunity to switch from minority to majority status or vice-versa. Adolff: So why didn't you use a percentage? You know that's a very difficult... In the full proposal I have, but as Mr. Malgeri indicated in the essence of time, the brevity of time, I omitted several slides that answered various questions in that regard. To ask each group how many residents they had simply would not be possible to get an accurate answer. That's why I was proposing using.... Malgeri: But we charge people based on how many residents they have. Serra: Not at the pool, not for the pool. Lanave: Yes, we do. Malgeri: Yes, we do, we do, we do
Sigmund Freud September 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Let me try to understand this: the Aquatics Director is "not an expert in swimming?" Are you kidding me? That's the equivalent of the superintendent saying "I'm not an expert in leading the school district!" Please, remove this man from his position, Mr. Malgieri and Dr. Morton.
Boardwatcher September 19, 2012 at 02:29 PM
This has taken up way too much time from our board. One group signed their contract, the other didn't. Both have pool time. Move on.


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