EWSD not open on suit with E.W.

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The East Williston School District is not being transparent.

The East Williston School District is not being open with residents about the facts of the lawsuit they initiated against the Village of East Williston pertaining to the installation of a fence at the North Side School. 

The School District would have residents believe that the approval from the state Department of Education for the North Side construction project included local zoning for the fence. It did not.

The School District failed to publicize a letter, dated May 7, 2019,  that they had received from the State Education Department, which states that, on the issue of the construction of the fence, the SED’s approval of the school’s building project “is separate and distinct from any local zoning approval.”  It further states, “the district is advised to resolve any potential local zoning issues…directly with the Village of East Williston.”

So what did the School District do?

Instead of complying with the SED directive, the School District sued the Village of East Williston demanding that the village withdraw a letter dated May 17, 2019, requesting that the school district conforms to the Village Zoning Code.  

What was the District’s intent to have the Village withdraw its request?  Was it so that the School District can do an end-run around the SED letter?

Why would the school district think that it has a blanket exemption from local zoning laws, ignoring the SED letter to the contrary?

Even a subsequent letter to the District from the SED dated Sept. 3 states that it takes no position on local zoning approval requirements.

Further exacerbating the matter, the School District then began constructing the fence in total disregard of the SED directive and in total disregard of the Village of East Williston zoning regulations.

What makes the School District superintendent and the school board believe that they are above the laws and regulations of New York State and Village of East Williston?

Fortunately, a group of concerned residents banded together and on Aug. 23 obtained a Temporary Restraining Order immediately halting the construction. 

Unfortunately, the school district is now appealing this decision. When does it stop? What a waste of taxpayer dollars!

Clearly, the school district must abide by the law and follow the legally required process.  Even the youngsters at North Side are taught that.

Contact the school district at (516)  333-1630 to speak with Superintendent Elaine Kanas.  Insist that this costly and unnecessary lawsuit be dropped.

Rita Botensten

East Williston

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