Amended state monitor proposal restores some power to Hempstead, Wyandanch districts

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A revised proposal that would install state monitors in two Long Island school districts could be considered as early as next week, according to the governor’s office.

In June 2019, the Hempstead Board of Education Trustees blasted a bill that would add oversight to the 6,600-student district. The measure would empower state education and finance officials to appoint a three-member monitoring board in Hempstead and Wyandanch school districts.

That monitoring board would have veto power over spending and appointment of superintendents.

MORE: Officials denounce bill to give state more control over Hempstead schools 

Hempstead School Board President David Gates says the bill was punitive and took away the will of the board.

“In that bill, the board would be sitting ducks. Basically, we would just come and meet and have no authority,” said Gates.

After seven months of negotiations with state lawmakers, amendments have been made to the bill. The revised measure still calls for a monitor for each district but removes the monitor's veto power and ability to remove or appoint a superintendent.

Under the new bill, the monitor and the board will work together to reach agreements on academic and fiscal plans.

“It's not what I would've desired, but it's better than nothing,” said Gates.

Gates said the revised bill is not perfect because the district has to pay for monitor. But he's pleased the community's voice has been restored.

The Wyandanch School District issued a statement that said they are also glad the monitor's veto power is removed in the revised bill. The governor's office said the amended bill could be considered as soon as next week.

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