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Westbury schools superintendent resigns; among highest paid

Westbury schools Superintendent Mary Lagnado, seen at a

Westbury schools Superintendent Mary Lagnado, seen at a public hearing in November 2012, has resigned with one more school year left on her five-year contract, Board of Education members confirmed on Thursday, March 23, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Westbury schools superintendent, one of the highest-paid educators on Long Island, has resigned with one more school year left on her five-year contract, Board of Education members confirmed Thursday morning.

Mary Lagnado, who had worked for the district since 1988 and served as superintendent since 2013, was forced from her position, said Westbury Board of Education President Robin Bolling.

“She was forced out,” Bolling said. “I don’t have any reason. There were no reasons provided, it was the will of the majority.”

Bolling voted not to accept the superintendent’s resignation, saying she preferred to keep Lagnado until her contract expired in June 2018.

“I thought that she was doing a good job,” Bolling said. “I did not want her to be forced out like this. . . . We are fiscally sound because of her experience and there was nothing she did so majorly wrong that she needed to be let go immediately.”

Board Vice President Stanton Brown, who voted to accept her resignation, said Lagnado was not forced out.

“The board accepted her retirement, resignation,” Brown said. “It is still an active personnel issue.”

Lagnado did not return a request for comment.

Board members split 4-3 in a special meeting Tuesday night to accept her resignation. Exact figures were unavailable Thursday, but two board members confirmed that Lagnado retires with a more than $700,000 payout that includes unused sick and vacation time and her salary left on her contract.

In 2012, Lagnado was named interim superintendent of the district, replacing Constance Clark-Snead, who retired. Lagnado previously was the district’s assistant superintendent for business and management services.

Lagnado was ranked among the top 10 highest-paid educators on Long Island in the 2015-16 school year with an annual salary of $316,111.54, according to a Newsday database of educator salaries.

Her five-year contract was negotiated in 2013 when the makeup of the board was different and her contract terms were set then.

She has led the district through fiscal crisis and at a time when enrollment in Westbury continued to boom, straining resources.

A Westbury school district business official, Eudes Budhai, has been named interim superintendent.

Last year, Westbury school district officials, including Lagnado, agreed to guarantee immigrant students’ constitutional right to an education by entering into a settlement with the state attorney general’s office that puts in place monitoring and reporting requirements until 2019.

The pact followed an investigation that looked back three years at reports of immigrants running into problems while seeking to register in Westbury schools. Students were either delayed or kept from enrolling in several ways, including when they lacked documentation or because the district sent older students to an alternative program, the probe had found.

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