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SB 30 member reinstated as another resigns

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School Board 30 remained short one member at its meeting Tuesday night as Teddy Kasapis’ return following his reinstatement by a State Supreme Court judge was offset by the sudden resignation of fellow member David Glassberg.

In other developments, members of the Queensbridge Community in Action pressured the school board to create a task force to address a performance gap between students from Queensbridge Houses and those in the rest of the district.

School Board 30 serves the communities of Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside and Jackson Heights.

Tuesday’s meeting was the first attended in nearly two years by Kasapis, who had been removed from the board by then-chancellor Rudy Crew shortly after his 1999 election in response to allegations he left threatening messages on the answering machine of fellow board member Jeannie Basini.

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Golia ordered Kasapis reinstated to his post in March, when he ruled the “desperate and silly messages” did not justify his removal from office.

In his first public comments from the board table, Kasapis criticized his colleagues for presenting a resolution mandating that school clocks be “properly tuned and in working order,” which was the only measure board members voted on Tuesday night.

“It took me quite a while to get back to the board, and I’m really embarrassed that we’re presenting this for you,” Kasapis said. “We have serious problems in this district. Why don’t we concentrate on educational issues?”

Board Vice President John Ciafone, who had introduced the resolution, stressed that having functional clocks is “very important” to maintain order at the schools.

The resolution was not approved by a 4-1 vote with three abstentions.

While several speakers from the audience echoed Kasapis’ position on the clock resolution, they also asked Kasapis and Ciafone to resolve a personal conflict they contended was interfering with school board business.

“There are too many problems for this to continue,” said resident Michael Sturm. “I don’t care if you hate him and he hates you. We don’t want to see this.”

Kasapis’ removal left School Board 30 incomplete at eight members for nearly two years since Golia barred the board from seeking a replacement until he had ruled on the case.

His return failed to bring the school board back up to its mandated size of nine members, however, as President Giovanna D’Elia announced the resignation of board member Glassberg, who had served for five years, during roll call.

“Due to personal reasons I am resigning my post as school board member, effective immediately,” Glassberg wrote in a May 8 letter addressed to D’Elia, which she read aloud at the meeting. “I wish you and the board continued success.”

According to school board records cited in the Daily News, Glassberg had missed four work sessions and two public meetings since Feb. 7, all of which were unexcused absences. Three unexcused absences are grounds for automatic dismissal under school board bylaws.

Members of the board did not know the reason for Glassberg’s resignation.

“This board was not a full board for two years, and now because of this resignation, we’re still not a full board,” Sturm said. “It’s not serving the community.”

The meeting ended with parents from the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, considered the largest public housing complex in the country, repeating their call for the school board to address the far lower academic performance of Queensbridge students compared to their counterparts elsewhere in the district.

“This is a crisis in our community,” said Rolando Bini, a Queensbridge parent who removed his son from the public school system and currently educates him at home. “Our children are not getting the education they deserve.”

While Gimondo said he was willing to convene a task force composed of representatives from within the district, he said the problem is a universal one that can only be effectively addressed at a higher level of government.

“I would like to see a task force that has the power to make a difference,” he said. “I don’t want a task force to make a recommendation that I don’t have the power to implement.”

D’Elia said the school board would discuss the task force at its next working session June 4.

Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.

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