Officials denounce bill to give state more control over Hempstead schools

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HEMPSTEAD -

Hempstead Board of Education trustees on Tuesday blasted a bill introduced over the weekend that would add oversight to the 6,600-student school district.

The legislation would empower state education and finance officials to appoint a three-member monitoring board, which would be able to approve or deny the appointment of future district superintendents, as well as all district expenses.

Board members say they believe that state Sen. Kevin Thomas and Assemblywoman Taylor Raynor did not sponsor the bill with good-faith intentions.

Last month, a letter was circulated that announced 100 positions up for termination in the Hempstead school district. The acting superintendent says in the letter: "I will be recommending to the Board that your position with the district be declared in excess and that your services be terminated from said position effective June 30, 2019."

That news infuriated parents, who questioned how a "failing school district" could fire teachers.

Board members say they're heading to Albany on Wednesday. They did not take questions from the media on Tuesday.

It's unclear if state lawmakers will vote on the bill before the legislative session ends Wednesday. But if it does pass, the new board would start monitoring the district's academic and financial planning as soon as the law is enacted and end on June 20, 2024.

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