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  She describes the policies specifically, the one applicable to the pool as being “outdated and unfair.”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

Robin Traum 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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