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Board 24 OKs search for super

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School Board 24 voted unanimously last Thursday to approve the screening committee to select a candidate for superintendent of the crowded district after Schools Chancellor Harold Levy rejected two candidates proposed by the board to replace Joseph Quinn.

Last fall members of the board, citing students' poor test scores and an alleged incident of sexual harassment involving a principal of PS 143 in Corona, voted 5-3 in favor of Quinn's removal. But former New York City Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew nullified the board's decision to oust Quinn, who is currently acting superintendent.

District 24 includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst and Corona.

The C-37 screening committee will consist of eight parents and five alternates, four county members and two alternates, one council supervisor administrator, one United Federation of Teachers representative, and one school aide.

At its meeting at 8000 Cooper Ave., the board decided to allocate $1,000 to take out advertisements in The New York Times and El Diario to remind applicants to apply. The ads will run Sept. 7, said board member Frank Borzelierri.

After the ads run, candidates will have two weeks to submit their names. The board then will review the candidates and wait for Levy's approval.

Quinn, the current superintendent, who has twice been voted out by the board only to be reinstated by Crew and then Levy, his successor, is marking time until a replacement is installed.

In an often heated and raucous debate at its district office June 15, the board voted 7-2 to again replace Quinn in favor of John Lavelle, the principal of PS 128 in Middle Village. Lavelle was set to take over the job on July 1, but two weeks after the vote, Levy vetoed the decision and the board begrudgingly named Quinn as acting superintendent.

Lavelle has been in the public school system for 13 years, first as a teacher and then as an assistant principal, but Levy said in a letter that Lavelle was too inexperienced to run the school district and was not as knowledgeable as Quinn about school finance.

Levy similarly turned down the board's second choice, PS 12 Principal Ronald Costa. Quinn had been principal of IS 77 in Ridgewood for three years and had been an assistant principal for more than 10 years before becoming superintendent.

Although the school year will start with Quinn as acting superintendent, he will be out of his job once Levy approves the new candidate, Borzelierri said.

At the meeting last Thursday night, the board also listened to a presentation from the School Construction Authority about its plans to build a prekindergarten though second-grade public school in Ridgewood. It will be built to alleviate overcrowding in three surrounding elementary schools. If passed by the board, construction will begin in March and will be completed in 2003, according to Celeste Amalfitano.

A representative for Urbatron, an environmental studies group hired by the SCA who studied potential noise pollution and increased traffic for the proposed site, said there was little or no detrimental effects on the neighborhood.

Amalfitano said the community review process will remain open to the public until Oct. 6.

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