Ron LeeMay 16, 2018, 2:09 pmMay 16, 2018, 5:22 pm

Hempstead School Board president and vice president voted out

Some parents believe new members are needed to turn around embattled district

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HEMPSTEAD — In a big shakeup that could change the voting dynamics for Hempstead’s five-member school board, two have both been voted out: Outgoing president Maribel Touré and outgoing vice president Gwendolyn Jackson. Both have described themselves as the "eyes and ears" for Hempstead voters. Those voters, however, spoke for themselves on Tuesday by replacing Touré and Jackson with Patricia Spleen and Carmen Ayala.

"I think it was getting better, but maybe it's for the good of the new kids," says Omar Qureshi, who has a 14-year old son who will be attending Hempstead High School for a few more years. Qureshi says with the school board was so divided recently, maybe some new blood could shake things up for the better.

"There's always a conflict of issues between the personalities, so that's what happened, and hope for the best for the new regime," Qureshi says.

The addition of Spleen and Ayala could potentially shift how the often-divided board casts its votes. Trustees David Gates, Lamont Johnson, and Randy Stith tend to stick together. The three form the board's majority, while Touré and Jackson would vote together to form the board's minority vote.

And with voters approving an approximately $215 million budget and a $46.8 million bond issue, the Hempstead School Board is looking to move forward to reverse its dubious distinction as Nassau County's lowest performing district.

The Hempstead School Board is set to hold its next official meeting Thursday at 7 p.m.

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