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Dec 22, 2010 11:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Tuckahoe School Housing Proposal Defeated

Dec 22, 2010 11:49 AM

Voters in the Tuckahoe School District on Tuesday resoundingly defeated a proposal by the School Board to renovate a house adjacent to the school grounds to provide housing for the district’s superintendent.

The measure was defeated by a margin of more than three-to-one, 249-70, although turnout was small: Tuckahoe has approximately 1,800 registered voters.

If approved at the polls, the proposal would have allowed the district to spend $95,000 from a reserve account to renovate a 1,600-square-foot house located on property the district purchased last year for $515,000. At the time, the School Board said it was purchasing the half-acre property in case it needs to expand the school’s facilities in the future. District officials said the property could potentially be used to provide extra classroom space to meet an expanding student population. Tuckahoe School enrolls approximately 360 students in prekindergarten through the eighth grade.

According to the Board of Education’s most recent proposal, however, the district would have renovated the existing house in the meantime and rented it to newly hired Superintendent-Principal Joseph Dyer at “a fair market rate,” according to School Board President Robert Grisnik.

Mr. Dyer, who took over the district this year, currently rents a home with his wife in Shinnecock Hills, in the Tuckahoe district. He earns $155,000 a year.

The board had proposed to use money from a $650,000 reserve fund, money unspent in past budgets, so that it would not add to the tax bills of residents this year. But critics of the idea said that the money was coming out of the pockets of taxpayers eventually anyway.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Cindy Beeker, a district parent and a public school teacher after casting her ballot on Tuesday evening. “It’s not the way to spend money in hard times. People are struggling. It was purchased to expand the school. If they want to do something, they should tear it down and build something for the children.”

Another “no” voter, Justin Zack, said he was against “excess” spending at a time when money is tight for many residents. “I don’t think they should be spending money right now,” he said.

Outside the school during the vote, residents Doug Unger and Diane Sadowski wore lighted homemade signs around their necks and braved the freezing cold to urge others to “Vote No” on the proposal.

“That is not a good use of money,” Mr. Unger said.

Richard Warren didn’t listen—he was one of the 70 residents who voted in favor of the idea. He said that spending money to improve and maintain a school property seems like a wise investment, much as the $175,000 the district spent last year on a new playground was. And while Mr. Dyer had taken the job already anyway, having a house to offer at a reasonable rent could help the district attract candidates in the future.

“It’s an opportunity for the school to provide housing that could be attractive in terms of maintaining good, quality people,” he said. “This is a tough place to live.”

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This referendum was such a bad idea. I am so pleased it was defeated. The board has awakened the ire of this community and folks will be paying much closer attention
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Dec 21, 10 9:32 PM
@ Mr. Warren, Yeah its a an expensive area to live in but at 150.000.00 a year one can live quite comfortably.....and I have to wonder why they the board wanted to over compensate this superintendent rather enrich the children.....Got to wonder~
By lursagirl (245), southampton on Dec 21, 10 9:49 PM
1 member liked this comment

Reason and sanity, over Board hubris, arrogance and ignorance, return to Tuckahoe. Now how to undo Mr. Grisnik's 27 year grip on Tuckahoe that has seen its academic standards and test scores descend to some of the lowest levels on Long Island.

Bad leadership always has consequences and Tuckahoe has paid a too steep a price with our children the sacrificial lambs to personal addiction to power.. It's time for term limits. Mr. Grisnik, you've done enough damage!
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 22, 10 12:47 AM
Watch out now. If Grisnik is true to form he'll find a way to do this joy anyway even though the just got squashed in the election. That's what happened with the Fire Department which he was head of.
By Southampton Truth (10), Southampton on Dec 22, 10 7:04 AM
Mr, Grisnik, Why does a school with 360 students need a superintendent? A principal could do the job I am sure. It certainly would save the district a lot of money. Also what a waste to pay for the renovations that have started now that this has been defeated!!!
By bayview (160), Southampton on Dec 22, 10 10:52 AM
Have you looked at the pics of the renovation done for the past three months? Did anyone notice that there is no building permit? (See my entry below)Just another over-sight -right? I am so glad that Dr. Crough brought up the notion of crime and unlawfulness at the board meeting on Dec.13. And another thanks to Crough for mentioning that the place he works provides limited housing for nurisng staff. He forgot to mention that they did away with housing for the CEO more than 5 years ago and now have ...more
By furpel (6), southampton on Dec 23, 10 10:40 PM
360 students. 6 million annual budget. Tax rate 3x the SH School District. = Creation of slush funds. Slush funds x temptation added to ego and absolute control = Grisnik. Do the math. And also figure how few people voted. How many years has this guy treated this school as his personal kingdom? SChool spending must be brought under control. Won't happen with this ancient fixture
constantly being reelected.
By Phanex (83), Southampton on Dec 22, 10 8:27 PM
Our daughter attends Tuckahoe. I actually would have voted "Yes" had they been able to provide all the information needed to make an informed decision. Not knowing what the rental charges would be was my reason to say no. I don't trust "Fair Market Rate" as an answer. It's way too ambiguous. If they arrived at a rental figure and it demonstrated an ability to generate a surplus each month that would pay back the renovation costs and/or cover regular maintenance, I would have said "Go for it". ...more
By Hamptonized (6), Southampton on Dec 22, 10 9:11 PM
Not only was fair market rent not defined, but the super would not have been required to pay it anyway as they were offering payment in kind. We do not need our administrators living on campus. A public school should not be a landlord. As many have pointed out, the work was already begun before the vote and I would like to know exactly how much was spent and how they intend to pay it back
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Dec 22, 10 10:41 PM
Delighted this was defeated as i was unable to vote yesterday. Now, how do we get rid of Grisnik?
By SA789 (3), Southampton on Dec 22, 10 9:19 PM

The source of Grisnik's longevity is the reliance of many Tuckahoe middle-aged and elder people on him for "personalized" drug/medicine services from his pharmacy which he cultivates assiduously for the critical votes he needs for his megalomaniac and wacky ideas of running a school district. He takes advantage of his being relied upon for life giving and nurturing drugs of many who dislike the corporate style of a CVS.

As such, he is reportedly good for about 40- 50 absentee ballots ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Dec 23, 10 2:16 AM
Not so sure about your comment on the middle-aged and elders. They didn't even support him on this one. I was there for hours on the day of the voting and one of the "elders" made a comment to me after Grisnak passed by me.
She shook her head with disgust and a touch of sadness "He knows all of us". And me, I guess I am just passing middle age and can not believe that a board and Mr. Dyer could think that the letter they sent to the community was anything but condescending, offensive and ...more
By furpel (6), southampton on Dec 23, 10 10:19 PM
Obbservant is absolutely right. Difficult as it is to imagine that older people on fixed incomes would buy into his schemes. They need to be educated. Write letters as well as email comments to the Press. Little Pharma Grisnik is plying his trade on both sides of the street. Many older people cannot vote in the school elections. It is up to the parents to end his tyranny over the school and to get his hands out of the slush fund.
By Phanex (83), Southampton on Dec 23, 10 8:47 AM
I went to the Southampton Building department today and showed them the picture of the renovation at 46 Sebonac . I was told that this magnitude of a renovation requires a building permit. You guessed it- None on file. And there is a pending violation regarding a furnace. The Tuckahoe School board of Trustees and Mr. Dyer should all resign. They simply have become too arrogant and have bad judgement and no accountablility. I want them to disclose how much money has been spent on renovation so far, ...more
By furpel (6), southampton on Dec 23, 10 10:07 PM