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Malverne Wildcats, OLL Soccer Compete for Turf Time

Local youth sports programs dispute Malverne school district's allocation of field permits.

"It looks racist," Iesha Brown, a Lakeview resident told the Malverne school board Wednesday night regarding the district's decision to give some of the field time she says was originally alloted to the Malverne Wildcats youth football program to Our Lady of Lourdes CYO Soccer.

As a proud parent of a Wildcats All-American player and someone who dedicates much time to the league, Brown questioned how the district is distributing use of its new, artificial turf field, which was installed last fall.

"I don't understand how you can submit a permit for something that was already designed for another program," she asked at the Sept. 12 school board meeting. "If the Wildcats already had the field, how are you going to say, 'Sunday, CYO is going to be there? Last time I checked, we were supposed to have the field for X amount of games, now we're being told ... we're moving because another organization seems to be more important than the Wildcats."

Brown later told Patch that the Wildcats' permit for the turf field was approved in February, and said changing the procedure now, after events have been scheduled, is "not ethical. "What would be the point of a permit if you are not honoring the process of submission and approval?" she asked, and questioned why CYO couldn't use the district's other fields.

Wildcats President and Board of Education Trustee Michael Taylor did not speak up on the issue during the meeting, and when contacted by Patch, he declined the opportunity to comment.

According to OLL CYO President Liz Westlake, the district told her they mistakenly issued a permit to the Malverne Wildcats for the turf field, and her organizaton had been trying since August to arrange a meeting with the district and Taylor to discuss field use due to all of the conflicts. She said the meeting was finally held on Sept. 11, at Coach Taylor's request, however, he did not show up. At that time, Westlake said the district gave CYO the fields for Sundays after 1 p.m. while the Wildcats were given Sunday mornings and any Saturdays that the high school sports teams do not need the field.

But on Thursday, Westlake says she was contacted by the district and told that the issue is being revisited and that CYO was no longer permitted to use the turf on Sundays. 

"We are in the process of working out a schedule for the programs, CYO and the Wildcats, to share the turf on weekends," Spiro Colaitis, assistant superintendent of operations for the Malverne School District told Patch Friday morning. "This is a classic case of too many groups chasing too few resources.  At the end of the day, everyone will not be happy, but they will all get a piece of the pie."

By Friday at noon, Westlake found out that OLL will have the field on Saturdays while the Wildcats are keeping it for Sundays.

On a related note, the district is currently updating its facilities use policy, which could further impact community sports groups. Both the Wildcats and OLL have been vetted and meet the current residency requirements, which state that an organization's membership must be comprised of a minimum of 50 percent district residents, according to Colaitis. The latest version of the drafted policy presented Wednesday maintains the 50 percent requirement, but Trustee Gina Genti said she thinks this figure "is too low."

Westlake said OLL CYO's roster is comprised of about 66 percent district residents. Taylor would not provide statistics for his Wildcats.

Sonia Avery Williams, a Lakeview parent who recently pulled her son off the Wildcats team, alleged at the meeting that "a huge percentage of kids from Queens, specifically Rosedale," were on his team.  

(Lore) Loretta Wolffe Guida September 18, 2012 at 03:12 AM
#4 Never before was malverne High schools foot ball field used for other then Foot Ball and Marching band! #5 how many of the 3 fields not including the 3 other school fields are set up for football, Give Malverne another football field with a shack and a scoreboard that is not on a school property! #6 Malverne Wildcats have the permits! That is the bottom line! So now everyone needs to stop making an issue out of nothing, OLL wants the "TURFF" we all work together and get the permits for next year! The Malverne Wild cats was One of the best things that hacve happen to Malverne, U couldnt play football before untill you got to the middle school and if U couldnt make the team, you didnt play! Malverne Wildcats is for everyone, about team work, and working together to strive for success, not about weather you are good enough to make the team! So those kids who can't make the team in the Middle school, still get to play Cause they are a Malverne Wild cat!
Concerned Resident September 18, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Again everyone take a deep breath and relax!! Expecting an answer from the permit gods is not going to happen here. U must call Spiro and demand answers. U must go to board meetings and demand answers. The admin loves when people wind up fighting each other. It weakens the cause. You must have a united front to resolve issues!!
(Lore) Loretta Wolffe Guida September 18, 2012 at 01:22 PM
coaching malverne wildcats not white, one of the cheerleading coaches is white! Once again the race is not the issue it's about everyone wanting to play on the new turf! Yes their is only Sunday for the turf, and it means everyone can't play at once, but it is a football field, solving the problem would be on one of the other 3 non school fields making a football field also! Yes other fields other then the schools are poorly kept, that is something as a town we need to adress too!
Clioscribe October 03, 2012 at 10:09 PM
I agree with Concerned Res! Call Spiro and the Admin to account for the lack of transparency. Call the BOE to account for the fact that they do more to represent the bloated Admins than they do the taxpayers. The issue here is that OLL CYO was never given a chance to file for a permit before Wildcats were granted it - and Mike Taylor being ON the BOE stinks of a conflict of interest!!!
Jan Kasal December 13, 2012 at 04:09 PM
If you follow the Malverne school district news on a regular basis you are aware that the board of education has recently become an agenda of its own, not leaving much room for any other business. Its conduct has been divisive, obscure, and poisonous. The current school board is a burden and embarrassment to the school district residents. If you are ready to dedicate some time to prepare for the upcoming May 2013 school budget and school board member elections and to change the course, please join others by contacting me at vevajanka@hotmail.com

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