May 10, 2006
In Sag Harbor: Petition Says Wait On Contract Vote
Some "Concerned Citizens and Taxpayers" of Sag Harbor have circulated a petition that urges the Sag Harbor School Board to abstain from voting on extending Superintendent Kathryn Holden's contract by one year until after the new board takes office on July 1. School board elections are just one week away.
Authors of the petition were unknown as of press time. School board candidate Susan Kinsella, president of the Sag Harbor PTA, speculated that the teachers, who were involved in contentious contract negotiations with the district, might be behind it.
"I think that part of the reason why the teachers want this [vote] to wait is because they were hoping to get their candidates in," Kinsella suggested, ". . . and their candidates, I believe, support their contention that she should be removed from office."
Last year, the board extended Holden's contract by one year so that it is set to expire on June 30, 2008. In January, the board tabled a second resolution to extend her contract by one more year. Holden is allowed to request that her contract be extended by one year every year. She did not return phone calls seeking comment.
School board president Walter Tice argued that the current board would not be overstepping its bounds by voting on a contract extension.
"It's also the time of year in which all board members would have the maximum experience, in other words, people who were elected last year would have a full year of working with the superintendent and therefore have a basis for voting," said Tice. "Those with two or three years [on the board] would have even more experience." Newly elected board members would be "voting out of ignorance," he concluded.
The petition states that during Holden's administration the school board, some of who were outgoing members, had voted to extend her contract "well before its expiration date . . . both extensions were voted on during the period of time between the May board elections and the July 1 seating of newly elected board members."
Tice said the board is not scheduled to vote on Holden's contract within the next two weeks.