Schere: Time to Move ON. Supported Yanofsky in April Ouster.

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Special to WPCNR from the Board of Education:In WPCNR’s Tuesday report of the tumultuous Board of Education meeting, we report Dorothy Schere as having broken the code of silence by stating she was opposed to the Board decision to dismiss Saul Yanofsky. She was critical of the public for not taking more of an interest in the tasks of the Board and the affairs of the School District. Tuesday, the School District released her statement. Here is Ms. Schere’s complete statement:
In any organization or decision-making body you have varying opinions that sometimes cannot be reconciled. I was not able to support the idea that the superintendent’s contract should be allowed to expire. For several months I advanced the idea of an extension of his contract and was unable to find enough support for this. It is clear at this point that neither the Board nor the Superintendent wishes to extend the contract past June 30.

There is no one who is not at fault here for what has happened over the past few months including the Superintendent and the seven Board members who were in office last year. But you can’t unscramble the omelet or put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It is time for us to move on, to reflect on what has happened, do our best to have a successful school year, and try to rebuild the public’s confidence in the Board.

In the past few weeks the Board has been criticized, for everything from its use of the English language to its decision-making process and communication with the public. There have been calls to “fire” the Board, or recall the Board, but who of you will take our place? In the past two Board elections, including the one in which I was re-elected, the candidates have gone unopposed. There has been no public discussion of values or vision, no debate about the issues of the Standards or the State Tests, no League of Women Voters or neighborhood association debates.

No one comes to Board work sessions except to protest minor budget decisions, and those few who have interest are content to watch the televised monthly meetings without giving any input or asking questions. Complaints and sometimes praise are delivered on street corners and soccer games but not in a public forum. So the Board’s work has gone on, unnoticed and unremarked on, and very often our information from the community is limited to the people we happen to speak to.

The one good thing I see coming out of this situation is that perhaps this will strike a spark of interest. I hope that we will see people pay closer attention to the Board. I hope that we will see more candidates for the Board Election in May who have been paying attention, who understand what the role of the school board is, what their vision for the district is and who are willing debate the issues.

I hope that you will now become engaged in the process of finding a new superintendent, make an effort to be more informed, attend Board meetings on a regular basis, communicate your concerns more regularly, run for the Board, and become part of an involved community that will strengthen our schools.

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160 Beseige Trustees; Board Unmoved. Saul Reconciliation Unlikely.

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UPDATED!:Dr. Saul Yanofsky, Superintendent of Schools ruled out renewing his contract, even on a short-term basis Monday night saying to WPCNR “It does not look like an option at this time.” He made this revelation in remarks to WPCNR after a School Board meeting that saw over 150 persons jam the All-Purpose Room at White Plains High School to plead with the School Board for his retention. Yanofsky said he already has been contacted with offers for new positions.

Dorothy Schere becomes the only Board Member to come out opposed to the Yanofsky ouster. Her statement was released Tuesday.

Larry Geiger, School Board Trustee, confirmed Yanofsky’s sentiment advising WPCNR “He (Yanofsky) has indicated to us he does not want to do that (come back).”

Approximately 25 persons spoke, criticizing the School Board dismissal of Yanofsky. The possibility the Board may have violated state education law was raised as grounds for a lawsuit to stay the Board decision.

However, any lawsuit would appear moot at this point. Yanofsky, walking to the parking lot, told WPCNR he has already received calls about new employment, though not as a superintendent of schools.

White Plains, Scarsdale educators to head search team

When the Board took up the regular agenda, the Board voted to hire officially a consultant to begin a search for a new superintendent, noting that the two persons in charge of the search are familiar with the educational dynamics of the White Plains-Scarsdale area.

Hazard, Young hired.

In a statement read to the public announcing the appointment of the search firm, Ms. McLaughlin said Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates was “the largest and most experienced school executive search firm in the country and has been involved in almost 400 superintendent searches.”

She said that “Leading the search will be Dr. John A. Whritner and Deborah S. Raizes, two senior HYA associates with strong connections to Westchester and White Plains. They worked together on recent superintendent searchs in Tarrytown, NY and Norwalk, CT.”

First meeting Tuesday

The President of the School Board said they would be meeting with the consultants next Tuesday privately to discuss salary and set up a timetable, and that the public process would begin in January. Larry Geiger told the audience that all the consultants the district had interviewed said the school district was on a good timetable for a June hire.

McLaughlin said Dr. Whritner was a school superintendent for 25 years in Connecticut and Michigan, and had actually begun his career in the White Plains Public Schools. She said, that in his 14 years here, Dr. Writner had served as a teacher, principal of two schools and as Assistant to the Superintendent of Schools under the Anton administration (according to Dr. Saul Yanofsky).

The other consultant participating in the White Plains search is Deborah S. Raizes, a Scarsdale resident, who served for six years on the Scarsdale School Board as both Vice President and President with that body. She is Chairman of the Corporation of Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Westchester Community College Foundation Board and of the White Plains Hospital Board of Trustees. She has been involved in over 25 superintendent searches with Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates.

Yanofsky will not be drawing up the “profile.”

Asked by WPCNR, whether Dr. Yanofsky’s input would be sought and used in developing a profile for the new superintendent with the search firm, Donna McLaughlin, President of the Board of Education, said, aghast, that would be “inappropriate,” that it was the responsibility of the School Board and the School District cabinet. She said Yanofsky would not be part of the superintendent profile development with the consultants.

The acrimonious evening ended with the sobering knowledge that the school system in White Plains was going to change and would be going on without Dr. Saul Yanofsky after June 30, 2002.

Good News and Some Bad News from the accountants

More jolting was the knowledge delivered by the auditor of the school district, Les Storch of Bennett, Kielson Storch DeSantis & Company, that the budget year of 2002-03 was going to be severely impacted by cutbacks in state aid, a limited district general fund (it is $6.2 Million), lower returns on investment of school district funds, and dwindling returns on employee retirement funds requiring district attention. Storch said the board had ended last year (00-01)with a budget surplus of $1.2 million.

Tax relief claims up, too.

Richard Lasselle, Assistant Superintendent for Business, added to the gloom by reporting tax certiory claims were already filed by seven parties in the amount of $350,000, and he did not know by how much this figure would grow.

Unusual statement by Schere

Regarding the Yanofsky matter, Dorothy Schere broke the code of silence on the part of the Board of Education on the Yanofsky decision by stating she did not support the removal, (the first Trustee to admit that there was discord on the Board). Obviously, emotionally hurt by the proceedings, and close to tears, Ms. Schere scolded the public for not attending school board meetings, or paying attention to district business or the school budget. Ms. Schere refused to release her written statement to WPCNR.

Board sees broad spectrum of White Plains including the kids.

Speaker after speaker came up in praise of Dr. Yanofsky, and expressed incredulity and outrage that the board did not bring up the differences with the community. One taxpayer brought up the fact that only parents received the board communications on the matter and said it was wrong of the board to only think parents cared about education.

Ironically, The President of the White Plains High School General Organization, Joanna A. Barnum, with her Secretary and Treasurer addressed the board, putting the controversy into perspective, saying that “As President of the G.O., I would never make a decision affecting the student body without asking the student body first.”

Petitions handed over

Althea Fusco delivered petitions signed by 1,162 persons demanding the Board reverse its decision. A representative of Centro Hispano presented petitions signed by 645 Hispanics supporting Yanofsky’s return.

Lawyer sounds omininous note

Steve Kass, a well-known town attorney raised the spectre of a lawsuit attempting to stay the Board decision during the Public Forum at the close of the School Board meeting. Kass said he sees the decision made in executive session as violating Section 17083 of the State Education Law.

He pointed to a case where a school board was overruled for having voted on a decision of a similar nature in executive session, which the court found illegal. Ms. McLaughlin’s contention was that the board did not vote in the Executive Session when Dr. Yanofsky’s fate was sealed, but had reached what she called “a consensus.”

Kass pointed out that Richard Bernstein a trustee was up for election in May, after the Board had decided to oust Yanofsky. He said that the public trust was deceived because persons might have voted differently or against Mr. Bernstein had they known of the Board Yanofsky decision that he had participated in.

Kass, when asked if he knew of a person, or persons preparing such a suit at the present time told WPCNR, “No comment.”

In other matters…

The board also voted to eliminate the turberculosis PCD test from school physicals, citing policies of the Westchester County Board of Health.

Ms. McLaughlin advised all that the next meeting of the Board of Education was November 26, when the school board would be taking up technology needs of the district, and, raising her voice slightly urged all to attend.

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Giant Poinsettia Tree Launches Holidays at The Westchester Friday

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Special to WPCNR–Shoppers may purchase traditional poinsettia plants off a spectacular tree of 400 poinsettias with every plant they purchase aiding severely ill children of St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center for Children. The Westchester, the premier mall of White Plains, will present its first-ever giant “St. Mary’s Poinsettia Tree” at 12 noon on Friday.

The Westchester St. Mary’s Poinsettia Tree, decorated with 400 poinsettia plants set on platforms to raise funds for The St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center for Children will be dedicated the day after Thanksgiving at 12 noon in the Nieman-Marcus rotunda.

The St. Mary’s Poinsettia Tree is the first holiday display tree The Westchester has presented in its 8-year existence. Living poinsettia plants may be purchased off the tree by shoppers and businesses for two weeks for $25 per plant until December 8. Plants may also be purchased as a Memorial/Tribute this year.

Proceeds will go directly to St. Mary’s Rehabilitation for Children in Ossining, a 44-bed sub-acute facility providing long-term care for children with special healthcare needs from birth to 18 years of age.

St. Mary’s is New York’s premier provider of complex medical care and intensive rehabilitative services to children with special healthcare needs from birth to 18 years of age. St. Mary’s Foundation sponsors this event for Children. For more information about St. Mary’s, please call (914) 333-7018 or visit the St. Mary’s website at

City Officials are expected to make a personal appearance with executives of The Westchester and St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Center for Children to participate in the festivities.

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Gismondi’s Warning on Chimney Scams Followed Up by Westchester County

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As reported in CNR last month, it’s chimney scam season. White Plains has been fielding and dealing with chimney scams, alerting neighborhoods for five weeks. White Plains Building Commissioner Mike Gismondi alerted CNR to this widespread seasonal scam and we reported his warnings. Today, the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection issued a county wide alert to be wary of telemarketers who are trying to sell chimney cleaning services.

The Department of Consumer Protection says many companies hired through telemarketing lead-generation, are unlicensed and will take advantage of unsuspecting consumers by saying that unnecessary repairs must be done and when doing work, doing it incorrectly.

“These companies cold call you, offer you great prices and then show up and do either no work at all, inferior work or unnecessary work,” said County Executive Andy Spano. “Many of these companies are not located in Westchester, and it may be difficult to find them later.”

The Typical M.O.

Added Elaine Price, director of Consumer Protection, “Be wary of sales lines such as: ‘We will be in you neighborhood,’ ‘A discount is offered for seniors and veterans,’ ‘If we don’t inspected your chimney, you may be in danger.’ Don’t allow these callers to convince you to act without time to make an informed decision.”

She noted that chimney cleaning and maintenance companies must be licensed by the Department of Consumer Protection. The department’s website at has a list of licensed contractors. If you are queried by a telemarketer for chimney cleaning, you can check by telephone to see if they are licensed by calling 995-2155.

“We have information that will help consumers avoid be taken by these companies,” Price said.

Price said the department has received complaints from consumers who say chimney repair companies have come to a home for an inspection, told consumers their chimney needs cleaning and have gone ahead and done additional work without approval from the homeowner.

The Department of Consumer Protection is located at 112 East Post Road and can be reached by phone at (914) 995-2155.

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School Board Presses on in Superintendent Search; Chooses Search Firm.

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The Board of Education is moving on with its search for a superintendent. The City of White Plains Board of Education has selected Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Illinois to conduct a search for a successor to Dr. Saul Yanofsky. The firm will be introduced Monday evening at the public November Board of Education meeting to be held at White Plains High School at 8 PM in the B-1 All-Purpose Room.
The Board will recommend approval of the national search firm to conduct a superintendent search for a contract not to exceed $40,000.

Hazard,Young, Attea & Associates is very familiar with the superintendent requirements of the tri-state area having filled superintendent searches in Chappaqua,Pelham,Rye,Scarsdale, and Tuckahoe in Westchester. The firm has delivered superintendents to Long Island districts (Babylon, Lawrence, Three Villages Central School District, and Brighton) and in New Jersey, (Marlboro,Sommerset,Holmdel,South Orange-Maplewood, Tenefly and Westfield).

Mix and Matchmakers

Their most recent successful search was finding Dr. Sal Corda for the Norwalk, Connecticut School District. Dr. Corda was formerly of the Peekskill School District. The firm can be expected to know the demands of a school district like White Plains: a balanced ethnic mix demanding a candidate familiar with managing the politics and fulfilling the special requirements of a special needs population.

The principals

Hazard, Young is run by Dr. William Hazard, and Dr.William J. Attea. Hazard’s background is that of a professor in Administration at Northwestern University, where he has been involved in advanced development of educational administrators for about thirty years.

Attea was a former superintendent of the Glenview, Illinois schools for 24 years, and before he taught as a teacher and was an administrator in New York and Illinois.

National intelligence system

The firm derives its strength from a strong network of “associates,” five of whom are active superintendents, 23 of whom have been superintendents. Twenty percent of the firm associates are mininorities and over 35% are female. The principals and their consulting colleagues reflect the sensitivities of all major races, religions and ethnic origins.

Several associates can bring an understanding of the White Plains, Westchester demands to the search. They include Deborah Raizes, former President of the Scarsdale Board of Education, and John Whritner, former superintendent of Greenwich, Connecticut and Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

Searching for Superintendents in 5 area schools

Hazard, Young is currently conducting searches in the following adjacent school districts around Westchester:Hauppauge, NY, Fairfield and Bloomfield, Connecticut; Watchung Hills in Westfield, and the Ridgewood Schools in New Jersey.

New York Superintendents report 23 superintendencies vacant statewide

A check of the New York State Council of School Superintendents reveals that the following other area school systems are searching for superintendents too: Elmsford (which we believe has just been filled), at a salary of $165,000; Lindenhurst, L.I., Rockland BOCES, and Southern Westchester BOCES.

Around the Tri-State area, the NYSCOSS report these communities searching simultaneously with the city of White Plains: Tenafly, Watchung NJ, Weston, Somers, and Watertown, Connecticut.

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80 Teens Advise Mayor on Concerns. Mayor’s Blueprint for Youth in Preparation

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Eighty high school students from the city’s high schools, public and private, advised Mayor Joseph Delfino on areas of concern they have about life for teens in the city at the Mayor’s Conference for Youth Thursday. Violence, Employment, Police Youth Relations, Activities cited as concerns.

The Youth Bureau moved to Eastview School this week and is unpacking.
White Plains teens got their chance to make their case for their personal needs to the Mayor of White Plains, recreation and police officials and local business representatives Thursday at the Mayor’s Conference for Youth held at Pace University, according to Frank Williams, Director of the City Youth Bureau.

Mr. Williams said the youths addressed a blue ribbon task force of community and administration leaders assembled by Mayor Delfino to develop a “Blueprint for Youth in the 21st Century in White Plains.”

Police View of Youth Questioned. Jobs, Violence, Activities other Concerns

Williams said the primary complaint the youth in attendance voiced was their perception of being harrassed by the White Plains Police. Williams reported that many teens in attendance noted that police move the youth along in White Plains and view them with suspicion.

WPCNR notes this is not without good intentions. The White Plains Police routinely monitor groups of youth on street corners, in parking lots or congregating on the streets at night for the teens’ own protection because it has been police experience that violence sometimes erupts as a result of this typical “hanging out.” As a reporter who was a teenager himself once, who had a tendency to hang-out, things happen at night when teens hangout. The police are aware of this, too.

Teens attending the conference expressed concern about teen violence, availability of employment for teenagers, and the lack of teen activities.

IBM Vice President Addresses Them About Careers

Mr. Williams reported that Ted Childs, a Vice President of IBM spoke to the attending teens about preparation for careers and was well received.

Crossection of City School Representatives Speak their Minds

According to Williams, teens from city schools included students from Good Counsel, White Plains High School, Archbishop Stepinac, The Community School, and Iona Prep.

The community task force assembled by Mayor Delfino will be preparing the “Blueprint for Youth” based on the teen comments within the next two months, Williams said.

Youth Bureau Moves.

Mr. Williams reports that the White Plains Youth Bureau has officially moved to its new quarters at Eastview School, and says boxes were being unpacked Friday.

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New WPCNR POLL: YOU Grade Saul Yanofsky

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In the last CitizeNetReporter Poll, 86 persons checked in, with 67% of them saying they felt the Board of Education was wrong in deciding to terminate Dr. Saul Yanofsky’s contract in June 2002. . Now our Poll gives you the opportunity to comment on whether the Board of Education was correct in its reasons for firing Yanofsky, as outlined in their Thursday letter to the District.

Here’s how to take the poll. Read the latest School Board letter reproduced by WPCNR in the article headlined, “Flash!Testing, Program Evaluation, P.R. Behind Yanofsky Termination.”
Then tell us in the poll whether you agree with the Board’s reasoning.

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FLASH! Delgado Strikes Back! Sues for District 18 Revote.

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The Board of Elections told WPCNR Friday that Councilman Larry Delgado has filed a law suit in State Supreme Court in White Plains, calling for a revote in District 18 where a mechanical malfunction of a voting machine reportedly cost Mr. Delgado 100 votes.

Republican Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Steve Levy, told WPCNR that Mr. Delgato filed his lawsuit Wednesday calling for a revote in District 18 in the North end of White Plains. Levy said the suit has been assigned to Judge Nicholas Colabella, and was scheduled to be heard next week (perhaps Wednesday). Asked when the Judge would rule, Levy said that was up to the judge.

Faulty Delgado Lever Allegedly Cost Delgado Winning Votes

Levy said the grounds for the suit was mechanical error. WPCNR has learned that the lever under Mr. Delgado’s name in the voting machine in that district, located in George Washington School, pulled down normally enough but sometime during the voting the mechanism triggering the vote malfunctioned and was not caught by election inspectors.

What tipped Republican District Runners to this anomaly were the vote tallies for Robert Tuck and Michael Amodio were running at approximately 155 votes each, and Mr. Delgado had been recorded for only approximately 55 votes. Republicans felt this was a call-in error, however during the recanvas Tuesday the machine reportedly was determined to have suffered a mechanical failure where votes could not be recorded.

Historic Action

To the recollection of persons WPCNR has contacted with long knowledge of elections in the city, this is the first time such an action has been taken. Mr. Levy was asked what were the options before Judge Colabella.

According to Levy, Colabella could dismiss the suit, or he could order a revote in District 18. WPCNR asked Levy whether the vote would only be among those voters actually shown in the register as voting November 6, or whether the vote would be open to all voters in the district. Levy said this was up to Judge Colabella to decide.

Colabella, could apparently simply throw out the District 18 vote altogether, dismiss the suit and allow the present count to stand, annointing Hockley, or perhaps even instate the 100 votes Delgado forces are claiming he deservedly should have gotten had the lever been functioning correctly.

Seasoned Obververs Speculate

Speculating at the City Limits Diner, Alex Philippidis and James Benerofe, two longtime observers of typical election suits, thought that Colabella might very well dismiss the suit, since Delgado’s reelection would have no effect on the council majority.

Hockley Reports 65-Vote Margin on Mr. Delgado Friday morning

Present Councilman-elect Glen Hockley, speaking as a guest on the Friday morning White Plains Week show, said as of Friday morning he had a 65-vote margin over Mr. Delgado, and expected the military ballots (the last deadline for receiving such military ballots is Monday) to have no effect. Mr. Delgado could not be contacted for comment.

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Jammed Voting Lever May Cost Delgado Reelection.

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Sources advise WPCNR that incumbent Larry Delgado trails challenger Glen Hockley by 60 votes after counting of absentee ballots Wednesday. A stuck voting machine lever cost Mr. Delgado perhaps 100 votes. He is now reported to be mulling whether to concede to Mr. Hockley or to mount a court suit calling for another election.

Paul Wood, of the Mayor’s office, and a close confidante of the candidate, both advised your reporter Thursday that after the recounting Tuesday and Wednesday, Larry Delgado is still behind his challenger, Glen Hockley for the third and last Common Council suit. Mr. Wood, and the second source report Delgado behind by 60 votes.

Oh those old, old voting machines

Unfortunately for Mr. Delgado, the voting machine he was counting on for at least 100 votes could not deliver that, because it was found to have a faulty Delgado lever at the recount conducted Tuesday at Fire House Number 2 in White Plains.

On election night, when returns came in at literally the eleventh hour, Republican leaders were confidant a voting machine in District 18, at George Washington High School, showed Mr. Tuck and Mr. Amodio, Mr. Delgado’s running mates for council receiving approximately 150 votes and Mr. Delgado 50, according to our source. Leaders at that time felt the obvious (to them) Delgado gap was a callout error on the part of their district runner, or perhaps a print error.

Lever on Delgado Line, Goes Down But Disconnects

What was discovered on recanvas Tuesday this week, was the Delgado lever was broken and the condition undetectable at the time of the vote. Apparently, voters would depress the Delgado lever, it would go down normally, and they had no idea their vote was not counted. Unbeknownst to the district inspectors on the scene the lever mechanism had defaulted and according to our source the count rolled back to zero when it reached 100.

The Board of Elections reported to WPCNR Thursday that they expected to upgrade their site with the final totals of the recount possibly on Monday. They would not comment further.

2 Options for Mr. Delgado: Concede or Court

The sources close to Mr. Delgado, who did not return calls for comment on this matter, advise WPCNR that Mr. Delgado is contemplating whether to sue for another election, or concede. The Board of Elections, being Democratic Party-controlled, is expected not to concede Mr. Delgado 100 votes “on spec.”

White Plains old voting machines to blame?

The public should know that part of this problem may be due to the sheer age of the White Plains voting machines. Each machine is mechanically operated. They are not electric. Votes are entered by a “Rube Goldberg” contraption of pulleys and links and stamping devices. A man with personal experience with the condition of White Plains voting machines, told us last week that the machines are at least thirty years old, and that the company that manufactured them is out of business.

He said the machines require a lot of maintenance, and are very delicate. He advised us that the act of transporting machines to the locations of the polling places is rough on the machines, saying rolling the machines over thresholds can throw them out of alignment, or cause a number to “roll down.” Perhaps a bump in transit caused a break in the Delgado lever mechanism, and the doom of the Republican Party as we know it in White Plains.

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FLASH! Testing, Program Evaluation,P.R. Behind Yanofsky Termination

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In a letter released to parents of the White Plains City School District today, the White Plains Board of Education spells out the three areas of disagreement between Dr. Yanofsky and the 7-member citizen School Board leading to Dr. Yanofsky’s departure. Here is the text of that letter: (To read the letter in Spanish, French, or choice of language, go to the Translation Block on the left and select your choice of translation.)

The next Board of Education public meeting scheduled for Monday, November 19 has changed location. It will be at the high school All-Purpose Room B-1. At that time the Board expects to announce the selection of a search firm for a Superintendent.

Herewith,WPNCR reprints the text of the letter released today from Donna McLoughlin, President of the School Board to the parents of the school district, elaborating on Dr. Yanofsky’s termination.

November 14, 2001

Dear Parents and Staff:

We fully understand that the community was surprised by the Board of Education’s decision not to extend Superintendent Saul Yanofsky’s contract beyond its current expiration date of June 30, 2002. We also recognize that the brief announcement letter was inadequate, both in expressing our gratitude for Dr. Yanofsky’s outstanding service to the school district as well as in explaining the factors leading to the decision. As much as we understand and appreciate many of your questions and con-cerns regarding our decision, we will not be renewing Dr. Yanofsky’s contract. The purpose of this letter, is to provide additional background and perspective on the Board’s decision. Dr. Yanofsky has reviewed this letter and many of his
suggestions and viewpoints have been incorporated.

Dr. Yanofsky suggested that we hold off any announcement regarding his departure until the beginning of the school year. The Board agreed. We also agreed that we would not discuss the reasons for our decision. We both felt that a prolonged public discussion would only hurt the District. In retrospect, we now see that earlier disclosure of the reasons would have
been helpful.

First, let us be clear that the transition to a new Superintendent does not signal any change in the direction of the White Plains Public Schools. The primary role of the Board of Education is to plan for and provide the resources and leadership the District needs to reach higher levels of academic achievement. We have consistently worked with, encouraged and supported the Superintendent in our efforts to achieve this objective. We remain committed to the mission and vision statements and the district priorities developed by the Board, in conjunction with the community and the Superintendent. These are printed each year in the district’s Calendar/Directory.

We recognize Dr. Yanofsky’s many fine qualities as an educator and administrator and his dedication to the district. We have extended his contract on three occasions since he was chosen as Superintendent in 1990. We are proud of and support the many innovative programs that have been initiated by Dr. Yanofsky, including the Controlled Parents’ Choice Program,
the multi-year technology plan, the Newcomer Center and our many enrichment programs.

We also want to make it perfectly clear that there have been no improprieties — of a financial, ethical or any other type — on Dr. Yanofsky’s part, nor any single event, that precipitated this decision.

Two major factors were involved in the decision not to renew Dr. Yanofsky’s contract. One had to do with timing; the other, with differences in emphasis and focus, not direction, between the Board and the Superintendent.

There also have been differences regarding style and problems of communication that have complicated the relationship between Dr. Yanofsky and the Board.

With regard to timing, Dr. Yanofsky indicated to the Board early last spring that he was not interested in the customary three year contract extension, but wanted a shorter contract since he was looking to move on to the next stage of his career. Thus, the Board and the Superintendent knew that the transition of leadership from Dr. Yanofsky to a successor would take place
in the near future. It was not a question of if, just when.

Secondly, for the past few years the Board and Superintendent have had differences in emphasis and focus in a number of important areas. We summarize three of these.

1. Student Achievement — While the Board recognizes the effort by teachers and administrators and sees overall improvement across the District in achievement, our rate of growth is slow and many students are not yet performing at acceptable levels on state tests. We have asked the Superintendent to develop a comprehensive districtwide
student achievement plan — a plan that would clearly convey to parents and staff the range of and relationships between the many programs we have in place. Although the Board has engaged in many discussions with the Superintendent about improving student achievement, no comprehensive plan, with clearly defined and specific progress goals for grades and schools, has been presented. The Superintendent felt that establishing specific quantitative goals oversimplified the process of academic improvement and did not take into account the extraordinary amount of effort that teachers and administrators were already investing in the improvement of test scores.

The Board feels that specific quantitative targets should underpin the planning process.

2. Program Evaluation — While the Board supports our many enrichment initiatives to raise the achievement of students at all performance levels and appreciates the efforts teachers, staff and administrators are making, we have also sought evaluation of these programs to measure their effectiveness. Although the Superintendent shares the Board’s view of the importance of evaluation, he felt that there were insufficient resources to conduct rigorous, helpful and technically sound evaluations for all the programs that the district supports. As a result, the Superintendent has provided very few formal program evaluations, nor
have we had a discussion to examine resources to address this issue.

3. Communications with the Public — A third area in which the Board and the Superin-tendent differed related to examining new ways to communicate with the public. We have continually asked the Superintendent for an overall examination of our commu-nications and outreach programs. We want to ensure that the District is sensitive to the community’s concerns and that parents are fully aware of the district’s available resources and our commitment to the needs of their children. While the Board is proud of the district’s communications program via our newsletter, TV, the Internet and frequent meetings in the
community, we believe we must continually reassess our efforts in light of a shifting population base and changing communication needs. While agreeing with the importance of public communication, the Superintendent has been
reluctant to consider new communication activities because he has been concerned that they might require additional resources.

In light of Dr. Yanofsky’s stated desire to leave the District in the near future and continuing differ-ences in emphasis and focus on some areas of high priority, the Board determined that it would be in the best interest of the District not to extend Dr. Yanofsky’s contract beyond its current term.

This decision was discussed with Dr. Yanofsky and conveyed to him, as required by contract, last April. At that time, and throughout the summer, the Board vigorously encouraged Dr. Yanofsky to retire or resign so that he could leave the District with the honor and dignity he deserves. Dr. Yanofsky refused to do so because he felt it would be irresponsible of him to leave at this time. He felt that, given the number of new administrators and other possible administrative changes this year, this was not the right time to change superintendents. The Board recognizes that in a large and dynamic district like White Plains, there are always important personnel and administrative matters to deal with. We are confident that, with Dr. Yanofsky continuing as Superintendent until next June, all decisions requiring action will be properly made by the end of the school year.

It is clear that although there may be differences about specific aspects of our decision relating to Dr. Yanofsky’s departure, the Board and community share a common commitment to the success of our outstanding public school system. We have every reason to expect that the District will continue to run smoothly and efficiently, with all programs continuing as planned. Dr. Yanofsky remains our Superintendent until June 30, 2002, with the full scope
and authority of that position.

The Board has initiated interviews with experienced consulting firms who will assist us throughout the broad-based search process. We will discuss the search at our regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 19th at 8:00
p.m. in the B-1 All-Purpose Room at White Plains High School.

Yours truly,

Donna O. McLaughlin, President

White Plains Board of Education

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