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Board 24 member warns Levy

By Jyoti Thottam

The story of School Board 24's efforts to find a new superintendent took a strange turn last week as one board member hired a lawyer to warn the new schools chancellor against interfering in the selection process.

Gary Sinawski, an attorney representing Frank Borzellieri, a three-term board member known for his arch-conservative views, sent a letter dated Feb. 1 to Interim Schools Chancellor Harold Levy. Borzellieri and his four allies on Board 24.

The board represents students in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Elmhurst and Corona, voted last year not to renew the contract of District 24 Superintendent Joseph Quinn.

“I have come to believe that his [Borzellieri's] rights as a board member are under attack,” Sinawski wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Times/Ledger.

“I understand that ever since School Board 24 began taking steps to replace Mr. Quinn, numerous attempts have been made to obstruct and derail this process,” Sinawski's letter stated.

The Board of Ed nullified Board 24's initial vote in September to remove Quinn as superintendent, arguing that the school board members had not adequately evaluated Quinn's performance. They voted again to remove him in January.

Quinn has been under fire for poor test scores in the district, and he is also under investigation for allegations that he sexually harassed a principal in his district.

Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the Board of Education, said Quinn's contract will expire at the end of June and the school board must now advertise for a replacement.

“We are reviewing their plans for advertising,” Feinberg said.

She said she had not seen the letter sent to Levy so she had no comment on it.

Borzellieri contends that Board of Ed officials who support Quinn have brought unsubstantiated grievances against him and his allies to try to remove them from Board 24, but he offered no evidence of these allegations.

Borzellieri said he sent the letter “to put them on notice that we are monitoring everything they do.”

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