Ron LeeJan 10, 2018, 1:54 pmJan 10, 2018, 10:59 pm

Hempstead School District superintendent placed on leave by school board

Shimon Waronker is displaced just 7 months after starting job in the district

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HEMPSTEAD — A late Tuesday night vote has placed Hempstead School District Superintendent Shimon Waronker on administrative leave. Now there is word he plans to fight back by taking legal action.

It took three votes for the five members of the Hempstead School Board to displace Waronker, just seven months after he started the job.

School Board Member Lamont Johnson would not comment specifically on why he voted to displace the superintendent. However, Johnson did describe his hope for the district moving forward.

"I just want to focus on the children and the best way to do that is just that, focus on the children, and do our best to ensure that they get a good, quality education," Johnson said.

The timing of the decision to place Waronker on leave comes in the aftermath of an "open letter" that he posted on the district's website over the weekend. In the letter, Waronker took aim at the school board majority for undermining his efforts to improve the district.

When Waronker started as superintendent on June 2, he arrived in Hempstead with a national reputation for turning around schools that were violent and low performing in New York City. But now instead of leading operations for one of Long Island's most troubled school districts, there's word he plans to take legal action against the district for violating its four-year, multi-million dollar contract with him.

School Board President Maribel Touré voted to keep the superintendent She said she was very sad about the outcome.

"This doesn't have an impact on getting a better education for the students. The affected people are our students. We are the lowest performing district," Touré said.

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