Thank you to all residents who attended the Public Works Session and Board Meeting. A big congratulations to Mr. Thomas McDaid, Ms. Christina Moser and Ms. Lorraine Kramps for getting tenured!!! The speeches were beautiful and we are so happy for them and our District. We also want to thank Dr. Seniuk for addressing the Meet the Candidates Night confusion. Dr. Seniak clarified that Meet Candidates Night is not District run event and neither she nor District has a say in the format chosen by the PTA regarding to how residents would be able to ask questions. Per Dr. Seniak, the PTA Presidents have addressed the lack of uniformity for the format and have advised that moving forward there will be a uniform format established for Meet Candidates to come. Thank you to all three PTA for working together and coming up with the uniform solution! The meeting was video taped by the District. Their copy is way better than ours. We hope that they put up the video soon. In case they don't', we will post our video shortly. The agenda for the meeting can be viewed by clicking below:


Link to the Work Session on Programs. We encourage all residents to see what wonderful programs our taxes have been used to provide for our students. We wish that this was shown to the residents at the beginning of the year instead of week before elections.

Link to the Board of Education Meeting (3 Parts):

Part 1 Tenure Awards and Speeches

Part 2 Legislator McKevitt helps our school secure $150,000 grant for security

Part 3

The meeting was generally innocuous until we got to "New Business” part at the end. For the next 40 minutes Tracey Miller, Ed Corona and Vincent Lentini, attempted to address what they believed was misinformation on social media and what the Board could do to stop being portrayed in a negative light via social media. Nothing that either of the trustees addressed could be characterized or classified as new or old business. What each three did, which was obvious to any resident who was present at the meeting and anyone viewing the tape, was attempt to electioneer and undercut the candidates who were running for election. They specifically took apart and complained about posts on two Candidates Facebook pages that discussed District financials. We really are struggling to understand why the BOE is so focused on how they appear on social media instead of focusing on our children their programs. The Board wants to know why the residents are distrustful and their negative posts on social media. This is why. If they trustees want to stop being portrayed negatively, they need to stop behaving improperly.

Perhaps the most troubling and concerning of what occurred was that BOE Trustee Tracey Miller brought up Proposition 4 under the guise that she received concerning emails or calls from residents in the community about this proposition. She then went on to state that in her opinion, this proposition takes away residents' voices and it wasn’t well thought out Tracey then tried to get a discussion about the proposition 4 with the rest of the board trustees at which point the board lawyer politely pointed out that discussing and then providing an opinion on a proposition which is on ballot, by a sitting trustee, during a meeting, was not appropriate. Tracey Miller's attempt to discredit a proposition that she obviously disagreed with during a board meeting could not have been characterized as new business or old business, or any board business. It was electioneering at it finest and completely inappropriate and unethical. While Tracey is not running for a Board seat, if Proposition 4 is passed her tenure will end in 2020 and she will not be able to run for re-election until 2021. Her agenda for bringing up the proposition was the only thing transparent as the reason behind her statements.

During the last Public Comments section of the meeting, A resident came up to the microphone at the end to express her frustration with the BOE, specifically addressing how inappropriate it was for Tracey Miller to voice her opinion about Proposition 4 and Ed Corona to attempt to discredit social media posts. She was vocal but not disrespectful. You can view for yourself once the video is posted and come to your own conclusions. Instead of Jenn Hyland responding, which is the rule, Vincent Lentini decided to address the concerns raised by this Resident. Specifically telling this resident and the community how he objected to Residents coming up to the microphone and expressing their concern and frustration with how our current Board was behaving towards residents in community. Mr. Lentini basically said Residents "should think twice before they come to the microphone angry and make public comments." Its interesting that Mr. Lentini is objecting to Residents making complaints about BOE actions during public comments. We seem to remember Mr. Lentini being quite vocal and upset during an June 13, 2017 Board meeting about there being only one Kindergarten class at Fayette and Superintendent Seniak moving a teacher from Fayette to Camp Avenue. The Board Minutes memorializing Mr. Lentini's impassioned address from that meeting are attached.

About 5 minutes after the meeting ended, and our camera was off, the resident who made the public comment that was upsetting to Lentini went up to him to ask if she could speak to him about what he said. We did not hear the question asked. However, we did witness and overhear Mr. Lentini remark in an what we observed was an aggressive and angry manner to this resident, that she "better think twice before speaking - I can have you banned from future meetings" and was over heard by multiple witnesses yelling “you better watch your back!” at the resident. The resident then yelled back "are you threatening me?". At which point Mr. Lentini was observed walking up to the resident and getting into the resident's personal space, in a more aggressive and threatening manner, this time, sticking his finger in her face, and restating: "watch your back" and “you better watch what you say." The Superintendent, BOE Trustees, and other people in the room all saw this unfold. Another female resident had to physically place herself between the resident and Lentini and was overheard telling Lentini that his behavior was completely unacceptable, and unbecoming, and inappropriate and he needed to back off. Most importantly, " no man should get in the face of a woman like that." Lentini stormed off and yelled "watch your back" multiple times. We cannot believe that a BOE Trustee would behave this way. Mr. Lentini's behavior was disgusting, unacceptable, and in direct violation of his code of ethics and conduct as a Board Trustee.

This dysfunction has to stop. The current trustees (with the exception of Megan) have demonstrated that they have an utter disregard to the code of ethics and fiduciary responsibilities to this community. The only way to change the climate of our Board of Ed is to vote in new trustees. Trustees who will take their oath seriously and represent all residents, even those who disagree with their politics.

Please share this on your social media pages and let all residents know what is happening. We need to get more than 1,200 residents to vote on May 21, 2019. Otherwise nothing will change.

April 9, 2019 Board of Ed Meeting

CRONM attended the April 9, 2019 BOE Meeting. Usually we take the time to review and digest the video content before providing community our detailed report of what took place, but we’ve been contacted by members of the community asking us to post video because they can’t believe what they are hearing occurred. Below please find links to the videos posted.

Part I:

Part 2:

The video from the district website can be viewed here.

District Video

The meeting minutes can be viewed by clicking below:

Meeting Minutes
Some highlights include:

Part 1 – minute 18:00 – 23:00 Superintendent Seniuk talking about renovations/decorations to her office and why they were needed to clarify “misinformation out there” about her possibly misusing public funds to redecorate her office

Part 1 – minute 25:00 – 27:30 Superintendent Seniuk discussing reasoning for closing schools during breaks

Part 1 – minute 28:00 - 30:00 Superintendent Seniuk confirming that she and Board discussed selling/leasing of land behind Fayette land in executive session but providing justification for same

Part 1 – minute 31:00 – 35:00 President Hyland listing District's program accomplishments and accusing Residents who question the Board's actions and call them out via social media as being in appropriate and constituting “slander”

Part 1 – minute 46:30 – A resident asking a question about the Proposition she submitted to be voted on in the next election and saying that within 2 hours of her handing in the petition, a BOE trustee contacted residents who signed the petition and began pressuring them to withdraw support of this proposition

Please share this on your social medial pages and begin a dialogue with your neighbors. We need more people to become informed on what is happening so that they vote for the right trustees for upcoming May 21, 2019 election. Lets unite and be the ones to cure divide in our community. We cant do this ourselves, but we can do this if we all come together.

Please feel free to email CRONM with any questions or concerns. Thanks for everyone's support!


CRONM attended the Budget Meetings on February 12, 2019, February 26, 2019, March 12, 2019 and March 26, 2019.  Videos of those meetings can be viewed by clicking on the links below.


The hand outs for the February 12, 2019, 26th and March 26, 2019 Budget meetings can be viewed by clicking below. 


At the March 12th Budget meeting there was good resident attendance and many people came with questions prepared. Unfortunately, the meeting started 5 minutes late and the first 40 minutes was a presentation by Ms. Friedman on the highlights of our curriculum and programs. The presentation was a fantastic description of what our children receive during the school day and Ms. Friedman did a good job presenting it in an organized and creative way. To view the presentation click on link below. 


However, there was general frustration in the audience that this left 15 minutes Mr. McDaid to present a 29 page budget document and answer questions. CRONM was left disappointed by a few aspects of this timing with following thoughts:

 1) We don’t understand why Dr. Seniuk did not ask Ms. Freidman to show her presentation to our residents at the start of the school year during the regular BOE Meeting, so we know what programs our children will be receiving in school. In addition, members of CRONM have asked the BOE publicly, multiple times, for a work session on Programs. This information could have been shared at a scheduled session vs. the Budget meeting. We encourage every interested Resident to review the presentation and have asked that the BOE consider having Ms. Friedman present this at upcoming PTA meetings or an evening event so everyone has a chance to learn about what our children receive in school. She is extremely knowledgeable and a great asset to our District. This presentation show how are tax dollars are being spent on our children by District. 

 2)      Residents who choose to become Budget committee members take time before the actual Budget meeting to review the documents and come prepared with questions. They are genuinely interested in reviewing the Budget and understanding how our tax dollars spent. It was unfair to ask Mr. McDaid to present 29 pages to the community and take questions in a 15 minute time frame. He did an amazing job on the Revenue and Capital components at the February 12th meeting and really took the time to answer questions with the full hour allotted. This session felt extremely rushed. We appreciate that the BOE pushed back their meeting to 8:15pm but even with the extra 15 minutes, it was simply not enough time to review how 87+% our Budget expenses are projected to be allocated for the 2019-2020 year.

 3)      In years past, 3 budget committee meetings were held at 7pm and 2 were on separate dates from the scheduled 8pm BOE meetings. This allowed ample time for presenting the Budget and answering questions. See 2016-2017 Calendar here:

This year Dr. Seniuk decided to change Budget meeting times. We have 2 meetings at 7pm that allow for 1 hour each due to the 8pm BOE meeting afterwards. The District did schedule an additional 2 meetings to allow residents to ask more questions about the budget.  Unfortunately, these two meetings were scheduled to start at 4 pm. CRONM asked Dr. Seniuk and the BOE multiple times, both publicly and via email, to change the time to the evening or during the school day since most Residents either work full time or care for their children (especially after school hours!). Our request was “taken under consideration” and ignored.  In the end 2 residents (2 were CRONM) attended the February 26th 4pm meeting and 4 residents (2 were CRONM) attended the March 26th meeting.. No BOE members came to the March 26th meeting. The Superintendent did not come to either 4pm meeting. We hope that District will go back to the original format as it allowed for more Resident participation and better communication.


Now onto the actual Budget! CRONM understands the most important information that our residents want to take away from the Budget meetings is 1. Will tax cap be pierced?  2.  Is the District spending our tax dollars on education and children?

  • The tax cap for 2019-2020 year will not be pierced if current budget is approved.  

  • The total estimated revenue from our taxes for the 2019-2020 year is $33,107,869.  Of that figure,  $24,022,165  is spent on the program component of the budget. This includes teacher salaries, instructional classes, music, art, wings, parent university, textbooks, special ed, supplies, art supplies, equipment, computers, science supplies ect...  The administrative costs which include salaries for Dr. Seniuak, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Carder, Mr. McDaid, Ms. Freidman, and administrative staff, total $4,403,367.  This leaves $4,682,337 to be spent on custodians and capital improvement projects.

  • Budget increased total $615,557.00. Of that amount, $349,954.00 went to cover the cost in insurance increases for teachers, administration and custodians. 60% of the increase in budget will go to cover increase in insurance costs.  

 From CRONM’s perspective, below are some points to consider:

1)      Administrative costs are increasing 4.69% for 2019-2020. Last year (2018-2019) they rose 4.3%. We are a 3 school district with generally flat enrollment. We question why a three elementary school district requires $4,403,367 to be spent on Administrative Costs.  We’d much rather see the $372,000 increase in Administrative costs the past 2 years go toward new school programming, additional teachers, and increased services for our kids.

2)      The Program component of the budget will increase 0.93%. We were excited to see an extra $15,000 in the budget toward extracurricular activities. The big theme within the numbers is that the District appears to be bringing more children back into our schools and provide them with the services they need. (ie: $81,000 decrease in tuition to other schools, $161,000 decrease to tuition to Boces, $244,000 increase in special ed salaries, $81,000 increase in contracted therapy services, etc). Information on students and their needs are private so we have to leave it at the numbers but it’s good to see that we are trying to provide children in our community with the option to stay within the district and meet their needs.

 3)      Health insurance for District employees continues to be a rising cost and challenge. While this is not just a North Merrick issue, the numbers are jarring. This year employee health insurance will cost $4,541,275 or ~ 13% of our 2019-2020 budget. In 2016-2017 employee health insurance cost $3,500,527. That’s a 29% and $1 million increase. Obviously we want our employees and their families to have high quality health insurance but this issue continues to be an “elephant in the room” challenge, especially if that run rate continues. CRONM has asked the BOE on several occasions how they plan to address this growing cost and there appears to be no plan in place. 

 A big thank you to Mr. McDaid for his work on the Budget and willingness to answer Resident questions both at these meetings and via email or office visits. 

Overall, while most of the 2019-2020 budget is being spent on programs,  we continue to watch and voice concern about the fiscal challenges that face our 3 school district and how the Board and District plans on addressing the expanding Administration and health insurance costs. 

If anyone has questions regarding the budget, please feel free to contact Mr McDaid directly via email or phone. 


A big thank you to all residents who came to the meeting. For those not able to make it, the last 20 minutes of the video can be viewed on link here. (We had a video camera issue that was not discovered until 30 minute into the meeting. These things happen when neighborhood volunteers are in charge of technology!)

Agenda for the meeting can be viewed by clicking below.…/handle…/filedownload.ashx…

**The BOE is negotiating extending Superintendent's contract in Executive Session.

  • CRONM was at the "Special Meeting" scheduled for 6:15 pm. on March 12, 2019. We found out that this meeting was held for the BOE to discuss extending the Superintendent's contract. Dr. Seniak's contract is not set to expire until June 2022. During the meeting, CRONM inquired as to whether it was fiscally responsible for the Board to choose now, three years before the contract is set to expire, to discuss extending and increasing Dr. Seniak's financial package. We wanted to know what exigency existed for this to happen.

  • BOE President Hyland believed that it was fiscally responsible for the BOE to discuss extending the contracT. "Just because they were discussing extending the contract did not mean that the BOE would agree to change the 'financial' terms of the contract before it expired."

  • Counsel for the BOE was permitted to explain to the public that discussions about extending a Superintendent’s contract before it is set to expire are not unusual. More importantly, the decision or reasons why the contract should or should not be extended, are not appropriate for executive session and should be done in public session.

  • The BOE has never publicly discussed why it was in discussions with the Superintendent to extend or change terms of her contract. All discussions have been in Executive Session.

  • There was also no agenda posted for the March 12, 2019 special meeting nor were minutes posted.

  • While CRONM understands that a BOE discussing extending a Superintendent's contract is not unusual, (the BOE previously extended her contract in 2016) we find it unusual for the current Board to increase Dr. Seniuk’s financial package before the expiration of her contract. Especially with how tight our budget is and how much our Administrative costs have skyrocketed under the watchful eye of this BOE the last two years.

**The BOE decided what to do with the vacant Board Seat:

  • The BOE has decided to leave the Wendy Garguilo's seat vacant since there is less than 2 months left until the May 21, 2019 Board election. For the upcoming election, there are three seats up for re-election; Jenn Hyland's seat, Megan Ryan's seat and the seat vacated by Wendy Garguilo. Pursuant to the legal notice which will be posted in the Merrick Herald and Newsday on 4/1, 4/19, 5/3, and 5/17: The two candidates receiving the highest number of votes during the May 21, 2019 election (assuming that Megan Ryan is not one of those individuals) will complete the remaining terms of the two BOE seats expiring June 30, 2019. When those terms expire on June 30, 2019, these two trustees will continue to sit on Board until expiration of their term or June 30, 2022. The third trustee (assuming Jenn Hyland is not one of the the candidates to receive the the third highest votes) will commence their term on July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2022. It remains unclear why Megan Ryan, who was appointed by the Board to fill Steve Enella's seat, cannot just finish out her term for one month, assuming she does not win re-election.


  • There will be two propositions on the ballot asking the voters to approve and give the District permission to establish a new capital reserve fund to remain open for 5 years in the amount of $3,000,000. The money will be used for capital improvement facilities in the three elementary schools for such items as renovation of auditoriums, mechanical and electrical systems, sidewalks, ventilation, ect.... The second proposition is to permit the District to use $225,000 from the capital reserve fund previously established by voters on May 19, 2015 to fund renovations and improvement projects at Camp Avenue, Old Mill Road and Fayette schools. This action will not result in any additional increase to the taxpayers.

Mary Keane read a statement to the Board expressing her disappointment that BOE President Hyland permitted Susanne Winkel, a non resident, to publicly shame Mary for questioning the BOE as to why extra help was not included in the newly negotiated teacher contract. To read Mary's letter please click on link below.

Letter to Board

**Dr. Seniak wins recognition from National School Public Relations Association:

The National School Public Relations Associations, a private organization created to offer assistance in professional development opportunities and public relations to schools in the US, recognized Dr. Seniak as a "Superintendent to Watch" for 2018/2019. NSPRA gives this award to 14 district leaders who were selected from nominations received in the mail, for their use of communication technology in innovative and effective ways. They engage and inform their school communities with new communication technology tools combined with tried-and-true techniques.Congratulations to Dr. Seniak for her public relations skills!

**March 20, 2019 Special Meeting-

The BOE held yet another "Special Meeting" at 7:30 pm. Agenda for the meeting can be viewed below.…/handle…/filedownload.ashx…

Thank you to residents who attended meeting. There was no public session of meeting and Board went immediately into Executive Session to discuss "approving letters of resignation for purposes of retirement (such letters to be submitted no later than 3:30 pm on April 1, 2019) by a minimum of at least two (2) full-time members of the teaching staff, upon the prior ratification and execution of an agreement with the North Merrick Faculty Association, the Board of Education authorizes the President of the Board of Education or the Superintendent of Schools to enter into, execute and deliver the agreement between the District and the North Merrick Faculty Association with respect to a retirement incentive." The Board spent 15 minutes on the above topics and voted to approve the letters. Megan Ryan and Jenn Hyland were not in attendance. Meeting was attended by Lentini, Gordon, Miller and Corona.

Next Board meeting is April 9. 


The BOE held a special meeting this evening at 5:30pm with notice given to the public at 2:30pm yesterday. Before the meeting went into executive session to “obtain legal advice from counsel,” Tracy Miller was appointed to the Bellmore Merrick Central High School District Board to replace Wendy Gargiulo. Tracy brings 18 years of high school teaching experience to the Board and we wish her the best in her new role.

Most surprising on the agenda though, was the BOE approval of a new contract with Syntax Communication from 2/27/19 to 6/30/19 for a cost of $2,800 on an “as needed basis”. For those not familiar with Syntax Communications, they are a consulting firm that specializes in helping School Boards with their marketing, branding, and communication. You can view their website here :

There was no public discussion for why their services are needed and why the vote could not wait until the scheduled 3/12/19 BOE meeting.

We are struggling to understand why Residents’ tax dollars are being used to hire a consultant mid-year to help the Board with their messaging. Especially after the 2/12/19 Budget Presentation where Superintendent Seniuk and Assistant Superintendent for Business McDaid stressed how tight the Budget was with the rising costs of unfunded mandates, health insurance, the bond payment, and audits. This is yet another Administrative expense in an Administrative Budget that seems to endlessly increase.

You can view the meeting here:


This morning 2 notices were sent by the BOE. One announcing an executive session being held at 9am tomorrow – a Saturday morning of the February break. The second announcing that 9 year BOE member, and prior President, Wendy Gargiulo has resigned from her BOE seat.


Wendy has been a tireless advocate for the residents of North Merrick and our children. Over the years, Wendy has held numerous leadership positions in the community. She worked through the ranks of the Camp Ave PTA, serving as president for two years. She was a girl scout leader for seven years, boy scout leader, baseball coach on League of YES for special needs children; served on the Lay Budget Committee, SNAC committee, SAVE committee, and Wellness Committee; and has been consistently attending board meetings for the past 17 years. She was recently appointed by NYSSBA (New York State School Board Association) as an adjunct facilitator on their Leadership Development Team. Her extensive knowledge through training and experience was utilized to train other school boards in New York State. She was in her eighth year of service on the North Merrick Board of Education, and her fourth year of service on the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board. As we were writing this post, we received a letter written by Wendy explaining the reason for her resignation and shedding more light as to the basis for tomorrow's meeting. We are posting this letter below. Please read it and share it. We need to get as many North Merrick residents aware of the dysfunctional mess that has become our Board of Education. It just shameful.

If residents were previously not concerned about the effect of an endorsement of a board trustee by a Non-Resident Organization; you should be now. This letter only fortifies CRONM'S fears about trustees endorsed by the North Merrick Faculty Association and their ability to maintain neutrality and uphold their fiduciary responsibilities, obligations and duties towards North Merrick residents and our children. Based on the political circus that happened during Tuesday’s Board meeting and the reason for Wendy's resignation, our concerns have now become reality.

For those who were not able to make it to the February 12, 2019 Board meeting, you can view the video here and it will be refenced below:

During the last public session portion, Suzanne Winkel, the president of the North Merrick Faculty Association, and a non-resident of North Merrick, was permitted to read a letter publicly shaming Wendy Garguilo, a sitting Board Trustee, for giving her reasons as to why she voted "No" in approving the teacher contract. It’s important to note that Wendy voiced those concerns only after being asked at the January meeting by Board member Michelle Gordon (at the 35 minute mark of the January video which can be viewed here

why she did not think the contract was fiscally responsible. Her comments were in regard to that question, not planned. Wendy responded by saying she objected to how the Board as a whole, negotiated the teacher contract. Wendy did not object to the contract being passed or our teachers receiving their well-deserved raises. The reason she voted "No" lay with Board not negotiating more in relation to extra help being provided to our children which is a benefit provided in the Bellmore and South Merrick school districts. She also questioned the money being given in exchange for health insurance buy-outs. When Wendy gave her position she was answering a question posed to her by a sitting board trustee and acting in her fiduciary role to represent and protect the interests of the North Merrick residents.

On a side note, before the start of last Tuesday's meeting Ms. Winkel, along with approximately 60 of our North Merrick teachers, all dressed in black union t-shirts, came in as one group at the start of the meeting. We know this felt intimidating to Residents that attended the meeting. Some even equated it to bullying Residents so that they would not speak during Public Comments.
At the 39 min/29 second mark of the vide (approximately 8:55pm and 52 second time stamp) you can see Board President Hyland sort thru the comment card basket and place Ms. Winkel’s card at the top of the pile ahead of resident cards. Ms. Winkel speaks at the 40 min/30 second mark of the video. In Ms. Winkel's opinion, Wendy was being a "bully." In addition to objecting to Wendy standing up for the North Merrick residents, Ms. Winkel publicly shamed a North Merrick Resident, Mary Keene, for questioning how this current teacher contract benefited our children. When Mary asked her question, she was not attacking the teachers or objecting to the teacher contract being passed, she was simply trying to understand, why something as basic as extra help, was not included in the current teacher contract. After Ms. Winkel finished shaming Wendy for upholding her fiduciary obligations and Mary for being a responsible resident, Board President Hyland thanked Ms. Winkel for her letter and then said "the Board, as a unit, has expressed how we feel and the Board, as a unit, appreciates you.” Before any public session is held, the Board President reads the rules listed in the meeting agenda which say; “Questions are to be addressed to the Board President, not to individual board members. Personal attacks on individual board members, administrators and staff will not be tolerated and may be cause to adjourn the meeting.”

Does anyone else find it upsetting that the Board President permitted a non resident, not to mention a teacher employed in our district, to publicly attack a sitting Board Trustee and North Merrick parent for questioning how the Board as a whole, negotiated the teacher contract? Since the North Merrick taxpayers are not permitted access to the negotiations, all we are allowed to do is question. When did questioning why the Board did not negotiate for extra help turn into something nefarious, negative or constitute "bullying"?

Board Policy #1120 makes it clear that only North Merrick Residents and representatives of local business are permitted to address the Board during the public session portion of the meeting. An exception exists permitting Union Presidents to address the Board on "District related matters." Since the teacher contract was passed and was no longer a District issue, it remains unclear why and how Ms. Winkel was permitted to address the Board. How is attacking a parent for exercising their constitutional right to find out more information as to why the contract was negotiated the way it was, a District Related matter? Given the Board president's comments and actions in taking Ms. Winkel's comment card from the bottom and putting it first to permit her to be the first person to speak; this was clearly a premeditated and coordinated act. After reading Wendy's letter of resignation, it was clear that Ms. Winkel, with the help of the Board President, was their to carry out a personal matter, not a District related matter.

Both Ms. Winkel's and the Board's actions in permitting her to attack Wendy and publicly shame Mary for exercising their constitutional right was a political move that used our teachers and residents as political pawns. Both Lentini and Gordon ran their campaign on unifying our community and promoting healing. Tuesday's events exposed their promises as hollow. We thought the Board was on its’ way with how they chose to fill the vacant Board seat in September. However, when the Board President orchestrated Tuesday's circus, she was no longer acting as fiduciary to the district, our kids or the residents.

As to Wendy, CRONM thanks her for having the strength to speak up and resign so that the current Board does not waste taxpayer money paying an individual to determine whether owning an investment property in another district disqualifies you from sitting on as a board trustee. Remember, you only need to be 18, registered voter, and reside in North Merrick for a year, to run for a trustee position. Her allegations of harassment and malice should be extremely troubling to everyone.

At the past four BOE meetings Wendy has publicly questioned BOE activities, decisions, and contracts. You can view these videos on the CRONM YouTube channel. She has challenged the use of comment cards and questioned the way taxpayer money has been spent. Wendy was also the ONLY BOE member who was not endorsed by the NFMA when she ran for election. With the exception of Megan Smith, who was appointed in September, all other BOE members received both $ and endorsements from the NFMA.

With Wendy gone, we are left with a Board who has a COMBINED 6 years of sitting Board experience. Three seats are now up for grabs for the upcoming May 21, 2019 BOE election. What has happened the past week with our Board of Education is despicable but perhaps it will wake-up our Residents to realize what is happening and get out to vote in May.

January 8, 2019 Meeting

For those who missed the January 8, 2019 meeting, the agenda can be viewed by clicking the link below:

To view the video of the Board meeting, click below:

Main highlights from the Board meeting include (in order of meeting timeline):

1) Videotaping the meetings by the District and Approval of Minutes

At the October meeting there were several Residents’ who expressed support (and importance) for CRONM videotaping and posting the Board meetings. Thank you to all the residents for the positive feedback and continued support! As we reported, during the December BOE meeting, the Board announced that they are looking into videotaping the meetings and posting the videos on District Website. During the January meeting, the Board reiterated that this was in the works and further details about implementation will be provided in the future. CRONM will continue to volunteer to provide this valuable service to our community. However, we encourage the Board and Superintendent to finalize the logistics surrounding videotaping and posting of Board meetings.

At the January meeting, the accuracy of the Board minutes posted on the District website was discussed amongst Board members. Wendy Gargiulo wanted something she said during the last meeting corrected because it was omitted from the minutes. The BOE spent the first 10 minutes objecting to Ms. Gargiulo's request and debating the need for the correction. During the debate, BOE members recommended that the video of the meeting that CRONM posted be viewed to settle an argument. In the end the Board added the omitted information requested by Ms. Gargiulo.

2) Safety

The Superintendent’s report on drop-off/pick-up safety at school was alarming. Security guards and school personnel are there to keep the process orderly and there are rules in place so that no one gets hurt during drop off and pick up. Shockingly, the guards and personnel have been cursed and given “the finger” by individuals being asked to follow the rules! Please follow the rules in place to ensure everyone's, especially our children's safety!!!!

3) Summer Programs

Emails and information about Summer program registration will be sent out soon. Scope and Camp Invention will be opened to Merrick residents (Birch, Chatterton, Lakeside) this year. Merrick schools will be under construction this summer and cannot offer their usual summer camp program. There will be an additional fee for non-residents.

4) Comment Cards

The BOE continued to use comment cards for Public Comments. CRONM does not support this practice. It allows the BOE President and Superintendent to choose the order that questions are asked. It also discourages follow-up questions to be asked by Residents that may occur to them as someone else speaks (have to go run and get a card, write down the question, and somehow get it up to the BOE). We don’t see how this is necessary at a meeting that typically has less than 30 people in attendance with just a few that ask questions?


There were thoughtful public comments supporting the District recognizing EID as a school holiday. Other districts on Long Island and the NYC public schools, (the largest school district in NY state) have adopted and recognized Eid as a school holiday over the past few years. Residents of our community have actively lobbied our district to recognize Eid as a school holiday so their children can observe the holiest day in the Muslim religion. Next year the holiday falls during the summer months, so the Board has plenty of time to implement the day off for the 2020-2021 holiday. Despite this, the BOE still needs more time to decide whether to adopt it as a permanent school holiday vs. deciding on an annual basis if the District will recognize EID It has now been referred to the District’s legal advisors.

CRONM stands with our residents in getting the District and Board to recognize EID as a school holiday. We encourage our Board to support our diverse community as a strength in our schools. CRONM questions why the Board has not placed the decision or discussion about adopting the EID holiday on any meeting agenda. CRONM will request that the EID holiday be placed on a meeting agenda and voted on publicly by BOE members. We encourage all residents to write to Board with the same request.

6) Teacher Contract

The Teacher Contract for the next four years was approved at the December 2018 BOE meeting. CRONM is glad that our teachers have a contract in place (they did not have one since June) and were given well-deserved pay raises. Given our tight budget, our teachers are the majority of what our children “get” from their school experience.

During the public comments portion a resident asked the Board how the current teacher contract benefited our children. The Board President remarked that the benefit lies with the "teachers not feeling squeezed" and the “status quo” kept in check. Per the Board “with the tight budget there was very little room for negotiation.”

There were also several exchanges between Board members during the January meeting about the Contract and why one Board member, Wendy Gargiulo, chose to vote against it in December. In her opinion, the children of North Merrick did not benefit from the contract. With the current BOE often citing to our component districts, (Merrick, North Bellmore, Bellmore) for comparisons; when she compared the current contract with our component districts’ contracts, there were stark differences including: lack of extra help before and/or after school, number of teacher conference days, professional development done during the school days, etc. Please watch video for the exchange.

It’s challenging to assess the contract since the public is not part of the conversations that happen during negotiations. As a follow-up, CRONM is comparing all the contracts on the SeeThroughNY website and encourages others to do the same if you want more information. We are working to put together a student-centered spreadsheet soon which compares and contrasts the areas mentioned above.

See everyone at the February 5, 2019 Board Meeting.

December 11, 2018 Meeting

For those who missed the December 11, 2018 meeting, the agenda can be viewed by clicking the link below:…/handle…/filedownload.ashx…

To view the video of the Board meeting, click below:

The last 20 minutes of the Board meeting is posted on our you tube channel and link below:

The Board held their Policy Meeting before the Board Meeting. You can also view the Policy meeting here.

The Minutes of the Policy Meeting and Agenda can be viewed by clicking below:

Policy Meeting Minutes

Policy Meeting Agenda

The Board had the Student Counsel participate at the meeting and the Camp Avenue Chorus preformed. The Chorus was phenomenal and our Student Counsel was nothing short of impressive. The children were supposed to stay until their presentations (agenda item #8) and leave before the Superintendent’s report (agenda item #9). To everyone's surprise, the Board and Superintendent had the children stay thru agenda item #17. With the children sitting at the Board meeting, to respect their privacy, CRONM only has audio footage of the first parts of the meeting (in the process of being posted). Our video camera also ended up with no battery power 10 minutes into the meeting so we may have missed a few minutes. We promise we are better at reporting on Board activities than technology!

The fantastic news is that the Board and Superintendent listened to Residents’ public comments at the October meeting and have looked into videotaping Board meetings and posting on the District website using BoardDOCs. They announced this at the December meeting and plan to give further details about implementation dates in the future.

Main highlights from the Board meeting include:

  • The teacher contract was finally approved on December 11, 2018. It is posted on the district website and can be viewed by clicking the link below:…/handle…/filedownload.ashx…

We will be posting more on the teacher contract and all district contracts in the future so stay tuned.

  • Despite objections from the residents, the Board rolled out the "comment cards" during the December 11, 2018 meeting. The residents have been asked to write their name and question on the comment cards. Cards are then collected before each public session, given the to the Board, who then, depending on the amount of the cards, picks and chooses which card to address and the order they address them in. During the second public session portion of the meeting, (after our student council students had gone home), CRONM expressed to the Board that their use of comment cards was unnecessary. Yes, comment cards are used at the high school level. However, the high school board includes residents with students from MAMS, Grand Avenue, Calhoun, Kennedy, Mepham and MAP. It’s three times the size our our small three elementary school district. CRONM wants to know what you think about the use of comment cards?

  • EID holiday update: Other districts on Long Island and the NYC public schools, (the largest school district in NY state) have adopted and recognized Eid as a school holiday over the past few years. Residents of our community have actively lobbied our district to recognize Eid as a school holiday so their children can observe the holiest day in the Muslim religion. Next year the holiday falls during the summer months, so the Board has plenty of time to implement the day off for the 2020-2021 holiday. Despite this, our District and School Board still need more time to decide whether to adopt it as a permanent school holiday vs. deciding on an annual basis if the District will recognize Eid. Could you imagine if the Board voted annually to decide if students will have Christmas off? CRONM supports our residents in getting the Board and District to recognize Eid as a holiday. We encourage our Board to be leaders on the Eid holiday and recognize our diverse community as a strength of our schools.

Remember the next board meeting is January 8, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. Enjoy the break!

November 13, 2018 Board Meeting

The Agenda for the November 13, 2018 Meeting can be viewed below.


The video of the November 13, 2018 Meeting can be viewed by clicking on the link below. Videos of the Board meetings are routinely posted on CRONM’s you tube channel.

Video of the November 13, 2018 Meeting

Before the 8 pm public meeting, the Board held a policy work session meeting at 7:30 p.m. CRONM was there and we video taped the policy/work session. To view the work session please click on link below.

Video of the November 13, 2018 Policy /Work Session meeting

The Minutes for the Policy/Work Session can be viewed on District Website by clicking below:

Minutes of the November 13, 2018 work session meeting.

  • During the work session, the District addressed the Eid holiday. Supt. DeTommaso provided the component districts with a ten year spreadsheet of this holiday. Within that ten-year time frame, the holiday falls twice within our school calendar in May and June. The Board spoke about other religious holidays and questioned what percentage of students it will affect. Mr. Corona spoke about what other districts do and he suggested giving students off and teachers participating in professional development and opening on election day and therefore no one loses a day. The Board will continue to discuss logistics involving the Eid Holiday.

  • We want to thank the Board for clarifying and addressing the concern on whether children's programs were cut in the past or going to be cut as part of the ongoing teacher contract negotiations. Per Mr. McDaid and Dr. Seniak, no programs were cut in the past and the cutting of programs will not be considered or be part of the current ongoing teacher contract negotiations.

  • The use of public comment cards were a hot topic of debate during the last meeting. During the work session it appeared that the Board was considering using “public comment” cards to address and answer resident’s concerns.  What this means is that residents would have to write their questions in advance on a comment card and be called to the microphone by the BOE in the order they choose. The BOE could also choose to say “Resident X we have read your question and respond via email” instead of have the question publicly heard. Again, resident's concern would not be addressed during the public meeting and the resident would have to wait to receive an answer to the email later in the week.  At the  November 13, 2018 meeting, CRONM expressed concern to the Board about the use of "comment cards" or emailing responses to residents later in the week.  CRONM believes that if a resident takes time away from their family to attend a board meeting in order to share a concern they have about a policy impacting their child, that concern should be addressed in real time instead of being relegated to a comment card or an email later in the week. CRONM believes that forcing residents to use comment cards or waiting to get a response, could impact our freedom of speech and prevent the public from being made aware of resident concerns. While the use of comment cards may work in other districts, in our small district, our residents should not have to wait to have their concerns addressed or answered by the Board.  We hope that the Board will see how detrimental comment cards or not addressing resident concerns at the meeting will be for their constituents and scrap the comment card idea. 

  • CRONM met with Superintendent Friedman and Superintendent McDaid to ask questions about the budget and district financials. Mrs. Friedman and Mr. McDaid took 2 hours of their time to meet with CRONM this week to explain each line item in the budget. They answered our questions on the Budget and Financials. They also listened to CRONM's suggestions on ways the budget could be presented in a more "resident friendly" way in the future. We are so grateful that they took time out of their busy schedules to explain how the budget works. They could not have been more helpful and we feel much more prepared for the Budget meetings in February and March. Thank you Beth Freidman and Tom McDaid!

Please continue to visit our website and facebook page for a more updates on meetings, budgets, ect.. 

Remember there will be a policy/work session meeting at 6:30 on December 11, 2018 with public meeting to follow at 8 pm. 

See everyone at the next Board meeting on Tuesday December 11th!

October 30, 2019 Policy Meeting

The Board held a policy meeting on October 30, 2018. For those who were unable to attend, CRONM was there and video taped the meeting. Below is a link for the agenda and the link for the video of the meeting. Click below to view each.


Video of October 30, 2018 Policy Meeting

The Minutes of the October 30, 2018 Policy Meeting can be viewed by clicking below or visiting the District website:


The next Board Meeting will be on November 13, 2018.

October 9, 2018 Board Meeting

For those who missed the October 9, 2018 meeting, CRONM has begun videotaping the meetings. Below is link to the October 9, 2018 meeting. We apologize for the layout in advance. This is our second crack at videotaping and unfortunately neither videotaping, editing, posting, ect.. are part of or skill set. We hope to get better footage at tomorrow’s meeting.

The Agenda for the meeting can be viewed by clicking below:

October 9, 2018 Agenda

10/9 meeting --First Half BOE meeting

Second Half

The minutes of the October 9, 2018 meeting can be viewed by visiting the district website or clicking on link below:


The October 9, 2018 meeting ended well after 11 pm and while it was long, the most important nugget that we took away from was that Board/District is still negotiating the teacher contract. Apparently, there was some discussions, just discussions nothing has been determined, of some programs possibly being trimmed and or risk of being cut if the District and Board were not able to come to an agreement on the teacher contract negotiations.

Not sure whether CRONM misunderstood what was said and we welcome our fellow residents to listen to the tapes and confirm whether our understanding is correct; however, it appears that in developing the 2018-2019 budget, the Superintendent and District decided and determined to an “across the board trimming” of all school programs. This “trimming” was done without Board input, possibly knowledge, or approval as we witnessed during the meeting. Most importantly, the trimming was done without any notice to the residents, who apparently approved the 2018-2019 budget during the May 2018 Budge vote and unwittingly voted to approve a Budget that included an “across the board trimming of school programs.”

During the October 9, 2018 meeting, Superintendent Seniuk claimed that because of our "tight budget," she applied an across the board "trimming" of all extra curricular programs. This "trimming" was apparently a surprise to Board Members, with the Board President at one point, remarking to the Superintendent that she did not recall discussing or approving such a trimming. According to the Superintendent, the “trimming” was approved during the July 2, 2018 re org meeting. CRONM was at the July 2, 2018 re org meeting. We took copious notes. There was no discussion or reference to trimming of any programs as indicated by the superintendent. In addition, it does not appear in the minutes that the District has on their website. What does appear is a $32,000 decrease in extracurricular activities in the 2018-2019 Budget. Without any further discussion or explanation to anyone that the above related to. Why is it so hard for the District to just explain to the residents "hey, in coming up with the budget, we determined that "$32,000.00 needed to be trimmed so that we can provide xyz in the upcoming year?" We spent thousands and thousands on developing this state of the art website that could certainly accommodate such a notification. But we digress.

Here is the video of President Hyland questioning our Superintendent about this “trimming” and having no recollection of a discussion of same or voting on same before it was passed:

In addition, we recommend watching the public comments of the meeting or at minute marker 53:00, where a concerned resident questioned the possibility of programs like art, music, and wings being “on the chopping block” if a resolution between district and teachers is not achieved.

While our school district is small in size compared with other districts, we are not small in collected tax revenue. Approximately $23 million in tax revenue is collected from our 12,000 residents and neighboring businesses. In addition, this year the district asked for an additional $736,352 from resident taxpayers - a 3.34% increase, which was approved in the May election vote. With the addition of State Aid, Reserve funds, and some additional revenue sources, this creates $32,492,312 in revenue to be used for the 2018-2019 Budget.

Of the $32,492,312 figure, the 2018/2019 budget for Expenses for Instruction, Psychological Services, Health Services, Guidance, Co-Curricular Activities, Athletics, Transportation, Community Service and Transfer to Special Aid was $23,816,656 or 73.23% of the overall budget.

Meanwhile, the actual dollar amount spent on school programs, was approximately $2 million (approximation we are currently working on getting final number). Compare that figure with the amount of budget spent on Administrative Expenses for Board of Education, Administration, Financial, Auditing, Legal, Insurance, Personnel, Registrar, Records Management, Supervision and Conferences—a wopping $4,194,673 or 12.91% of the overall budget.

Our small district with three elementary schools employs a Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, and 2 Assistant Superintendents. The above account for $800,000 annually in salary and benefits.

Does anyone else question why a three elementary school district needs to spend $4,194, 673.00 on Administrative expenses and costs? For more on the budget, please visit district website or

Why are our children’s programs even being discussed and/or being “trimmed” when they are such a small portion of the overall budget? Did you know that the two largest cost increases in the 2018-2019 Budget were:

1) A new $735,000 for the principal payment due on the school bond – this payment did not exist a year ago and will continue to be in the Budget for the next ten years. It is due to the Bond for Capital improvements to our schools.

2) A $481,988 increase in Health Insurance costs for District employees – we don’t expect that these costs will go down in future Budgets.

Did you know that Administrative (non teacher/cscs) related salaries, legal fees, consultant fees, and service costs continued to increase by an additional $175,000?

To be clear, CRONM supports our teachers and CSCS personnel getting raises. Don’t forget, some of our teachers and CSCS personnel reside in North Merrick and majority in the surrounding Massapequa, Bellmore, south shore neighborhoods. CRONM believes that with smart and innovative thinking, our teachers can get the raises they require without having to trim any existing school programs. 
Remember the budget is “tight” and extracurricular are being “trimmed” because there appears to be a disproportionate amount spent on administrative costs vs. costs on our children.

The PTA already has to fundraise for all the wonderful programs they create for our children and the 6th grade classes have to fundraise for field trips and activities to celebrate their graduation.

CRONM believes if the Superintendent and District conduct an evaluation of their ever-expanding department, they can locate various areas to trim the “fat” so to speak and find the money to provide our teachers with their much needed raises instead of cutting or trimming “music, art and other necessary school programs.”

Remember there is a public works meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow in the board room at Fayette. The meeting will come to order at 6:30 p.m. and the board will immediately go into executive session. Executive Session will conclude at 7:00 and the Board will go into a Public Work Session and discuss committee minutes, retreat, goals setting EID holiday and public comment cards. At the conclusion of the Public Works session or 7:30 the Board will go into Executive Session to discuss “negotiations”. Board will reconvene at 8:00 for the regular public meeting.

To view notice posted somewhere on district website (we tried to locate it but couldn’t find it on the website, below is link to email received from Joanne Long).…

See everyone on November 13, 2018.

Summary of September 25, 2018 Special Meeting Appoint Trustee for Vacant Seat

On September 25, 2018, the Board held a special meeting that was scheduled for 7:00 p.m. The public received notice of this meeting, on September 24, 2018, by a paper posting on the doors to all three elementary schools in our district. CRONM took a picture of the notice and it is posted on our facebook page. Per the notice, the Board upon convening the meeting at 7:00 pm. was going to immediately go into executive session because they were going to discuss the financial, employment history of certain individuals. What the Board was doing was interviewing some of the 13 candidates who submitted their letters of intent for the vacant board seat. We understand that the Board interviewed Steve Enella, Meghan Ryan Smith, Maria Small, Sue Moeller, Jerry Acuna and Skip Haile. We were advised that some, not all, of the remaining 13 candidates were interviewed the week before, possibly on Friday, September 21, 2018. It remains unclear whether there was a special board meeting held between the September 12, 2018 Board Meeting and September 21, 2018, where the Board discussed and decided on which candidates to interview.

ADDITION 11/12— After CRONM posted the above summary on September 30, 2018, the district updated their website and posted the meeting minutes of a September 17, 2018 “Special Meeting”. There does not appear to have been any notice of this meeting to the residents and the meeting minutes indicate that this meeting was in violation of the Open Meetings law. For the meeting minutes, please click on the link below.

September 17, 2018 Meeting Minutes

In any event, we understand that a lot of residents were concerned that the Board was going to exclude the public and hold the discussion and decision to fill the vacant seat in executive session. CRONM along with many other residents wrote to the Board asking them to reconsider. The Board listened to its constituents. The Board appears to have followed the open meetings law; they did the right thing. The Board opened their debate and discussion on who to fill the seat to the residents at 9:45 p.m. The Board had a very thorough public debate. It was really insightful. We thanked the Board and continue to thank the Board for respecting the process, listening to its residents and permitting the residents to participate.

CRONM Video taped the meeting and the posting can be viewed on our facebook page. CRONM is working on getting the videos to post on our website.

The Board selected Meghan Ryan Smith to fill the vacant seat. Meghan is an attorney for Nassau University Medical Center, has prior board experience, currently sits on two boards, has experience in dealing with finance and review of financials, has children in the district (Fayette), and is a longtime North Merrick resident who graduated from Chatterton, MAMS and Calhoun. Meghan agreed to be sworn in on the spot! We have learned that she jumped right into her role speaking at the different PTA meetings throughout the week and participating in the Board’s September 27, 2018 board retreat. If you see Meghan around, please congratulate her on her appointment. Her photograph is posted on CRONM’s website.

See everyone on October 9, 2019.

Summary of the September 12, 2018 Board Meeting

This was another lengthy meeting. Over two hours in length. The Agenda for the meeting can be viewed by clicking on link below:

Agenda for the September 12, 2018 Meeting

CRONM’s summary of the September 12, 2018 Meeting can be viewed by clicking on link below.

CRONM Summary of BOE Meeting.

The Board is likely to hold a special BOE meeting to decide who to select to fill Pinto’s seat. We will be on lookout for the date and advise.


Summary of August 14, 2018 Board Meeting

For CRONM’S August 14, 2018 Meeting Summary, click on link below:

CRONM’s August 14, 2018 BOE Summary

For the BOE’s August 14, 2018 BOE Meeting Agenda

For the BOE’s Meeting Minutes, click on link below:

BOE August 14, 2018 Meeting Minutes

For the Agenda on the August 23, 2018 Special Meeting, click on link below:

Special August 23, 2018 BOE Meeting

Be on the look out for the a message from the BOE and District on when North Merrick residents can submit letters of intent to fill Pinto’s seat. We fully anticipate new Board to discuss and make decision on who to fill the seat during the September meeting. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Board member, please submit your resume or letter of intent.

NEXT BOARD MEETING SEPTEMBER 12, 2018. Enjoy rest of summer!!!

Summary of July 2, 2018 Board Meeting