Louis R. DeAngelo, a longtime administrator in the East Meadow school district, is stepping down from the superintendent's post amid a controversy over efforts to establish full-day kindergarten classes.
DeAngelo's decision to retire at the end of the school year on June 30, with two years remaining on his contract, was announced Thursday night at a school board meeting.
Board president Joseph Parisi said the superintendent recently informed board trustees of his decision and they "thanked him very much for his 30 years of dedicated service."
DeAngelo, 64, served six years as chief of the 7,000-student East Meadow system. He previously was an assistant superintendent and director of special education.
The superintendent's listed annual salary is $270,000. Neither he nor board members said whether his departure agreement includes any payout for remaining salary, unused vacation days or other compensation.
The announcement -- five days before a vote on the school budget and board candidates -- was made before an audience that included parent leaders who have voiced dissatisfaction with the administration's handling of the full-day kindergarten proposal.
East Meadow is the only district in Nassau County that operates half-day kindergarten classes of 2 1/2 hours each school day. The Floral Park-Bellerose system does not have a full-day program, but holds its classes for four hours daily.
"For awhile in East Meadow, there's been a need for change," said one parent, Stacy Van Wagenen. "I'm relieved that change is coming."
Van Wagenen is among dozens of East Meadow parents who last month sent letters to board members, demanding the superintendent's removal.
DeAngelo, in a phone interview Friday, denied that parental pressure prompted his resignation. The superintendent acknowledged disagreement with some parents, but said he generally enjoyed contacts with district residents over the years and took pride in East Meadow's strong programs in art, music and science research.
"I have very strong values," DeAngelo said. "I always tried to stay true to those."
East Meadow's Tuesday ballot includes two spending propositions: the $192.8 million budget for 2015-16, and an extra $2.9 million for full-day kindergarten.
That second proposal would push East Meadow's tax hike to 3.08 percent, above the 2.13 percent limit allowed by the state's tax-cap law. Consequently, both propositions require approval by 60 percent of those voting.
Some parents have contended the kindergarten proposal should have been included in the regular budget, rather than as a separate proposition that they say may confuse voters. DeAngelo has responded that the two propositions give voters a clearer choice.