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Long IslandEducation

Elwood's superintendent to retire at the end of the 2015-16 school year

Elwood Superintendent Peter Scordo at the school board's

Elwood Superintendent Peter Scordo at the school board's budget meeting at Elwood Middle School on March 19, 2015. Credit: Johnny Milano

Elwood School District Superintendent Peter Scordo announced Monday that he plans to retire after the 2015-16 school year.

Scordo, 65, of Northport, said he accomplished the goals he set for the district, including putting together a strong team and navigating Elwood's financial challenges.

"I hired a group of educational administrators who are extremely talented, who have grown program options for children in Elwood and . . . supported growth in the instructional program to support our kids," he said.

The board has a year to recruit a new superintendent, with plans for the new hire to take the reins July 1, 2016.

Scordo has been superintendent since July 2009. Before that, he was superintendent at several school districts, including Hauppauge for four years and Malverne for three years.

In between those stints, he spent two years working simultaneously as superintendent at three districts: Eastport, South Manor and Eastport South Manor Central -- the first two districts merged at the grade 7-12 level.

Scordo has led Elwood through periods of financial uncertainty. The largely residential, single-family-home community has a population of about 11,000, a challenge to generating enough tax revenue.

Under Scordo's leadership the board approved a $59.5 million budget for this year for the district of about 2,600 students. Last September, Scordo said the district may need 60 percent of voters to approve busting the state tax cap. In the months since, district officials developed a budget proposal that meets the 2.09 percent tax cap, meaning they only need a simple majority vote to approve the budget May 19.

"From a financial perspective, it has been very challenging for this district to maintain its balance given the nature of our tax base," he said. "But the restoration of full-day kindergarten next year and preservation of programs and staffing is testament to a community that is fully supportive of its schools."

When asked about career highlights, Scordo cited what he called the "miracle of Malverne." He helped start a science competition so students could participate in the Intel Science Fair.

Malverne students won first place the second year they participated in the Intel competition.

"You talk about underdog; the chances of only having a fledgling program that had a winner," Scordo said. "I don't know if it's the most momentous, but it certainly rings in my heart as a big one."

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