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School Board 24 members named Brooklyn principal James Quail last Thursday as their second candidate to fill the district superintendent post before filing a grievance against Chancellor Harold Levy for rejecting their first choice.
Quail, the principal of IS 250 in Williamsburg, was selected from the boards remaining pool of five candidates after Levy announced last month that he did not consider PS 12 Principal Ronald Costa the first nominee qualified to lead the district.
Mr. Quail has as much experience as anyone does, board President Patricia Grayson said after the monthly meeting at the boards district offices in Glendale last Thursday. What were doing is following the process until the process is over.
But the process faces an uncertain future under the new school governance laws, which will strip the school board of its power to help choose a superintendent and give that authority exclusively to the chancellor. But the regulations are still awaiting Justice Department approval.
The search for a new District 24 leader has dragged on since 1999, when the newly elected school board voted not to renew Superintendent Joseph Quinns contract despite vocal protests from parents. Levy selected Quinn to serve as interim acting superintendent once his contract expired two years ago, and the process of finding his successor has been repeatedly stalled by assorted grievances and delays.
School District 24 covers Glendale, Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Corona and parts of Woodside.
Although Grayson said Quails abilities make him a good match for the position, she added that none of the candidates is likely to win Levys approval.
Hes not going to pick anybody, Grayson said. His reasons mean hes going to reject anyone. No one fits the bill.
Frustrated by what they considered to be an inadequate explanation of his decision, the school board filed a grievance that objects to the criteria Levy uses in assessing superintendent candidates.
Grayson said a copy will go to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Burton Sacks, the head of community school district affairs.
When news broke last month ago of Levys decision to reject Costa, the Woodside public school principal said it came in response to his own outspoken criticism of a central administration policy on computer purchases.
But Board of Ed spokesman Kevin Ortiz reiterated last week that Levys decision was based exclusively on Costas qualifications.
The chancellor carefully and thoroughly reviewed the boards submittal of Mr. Costa for the position, Ortiz said. Hes a great principal, but the chancellor felt that he was not qualified to be superintendent.
Many parents still hope Quinn will ultimately be chosen to stay on as superintendent.
Im supportive of Quinn and I think a lot of people in the district are, said Marge Kolb Corridan, PTA president at IS 73. Teachers and parents have come in here and said they support him.
Although the board is unlikely to ever select Quinn, he may still have a chance to hang onto his job once state legislation giving control of the schools to Mayor Bloomberg takes effect.
Under the traditional process that School Board 24 is following, the school board chooses candidates for district superintendent out of a pool selected by a C37 committee, which is made up of parents, school staff and community leaders who interview and whittle down applicants. Quinn was among the six candidates selected by the C37, which also named Costa, Quail and three others.
The final choice rests with the chancellor, who can only accept or reject names submitted by the school board.
But the new school governance regulations give the power to select or remove superintendents exclusively to the chancellor, entirely cutting out the community school boards, which are to be abolished in another year.
The new rules will take effect once the U.S. Justice Department gives its approval, which is expected soon.
Then it will be completely up to the chancellor to select a superintendent, state Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said.
Thus Levy could select Quinn without the school boards involvement, although Levy himself is expected to be replaced soon by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, a controversy surrounding board member Louisa Chan was settled last week when she was reinstated to the board after Levy removed her weeks ago because she failed to file conflict-of-interest papers.
Although Chan accused Levy in a Daily News story of trying to shift the board makeup in Quinns favor by ousting her she is a staunch detractor of Quinns she was present at last Thursdays meeting and participated in the vote for Quail after resolving the problems with her paperwork.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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