OCS Board president resigns

By Jay Braman Jr.
The President of the Onteora School District’s Board of Trustees has resigned.
Ralph Legnini, who was elected to the board last May for a three-year term, sent a brief written statement to the rest of the trustees just hours prior to the board’s Feb. 3 meeting to announce that his resignation was effective immediately.
Legnini, a West Shokan resident with a child in the Phoenicia Elementary School, was ushered in last May with a landslide vote along with Woodstock resident Donna Flayhan, Phoenicia resident Ann McGillicuddy and Willow resident Laurie Osmond. The four campaigned as a team against a trio of Town of Olive based incumbents including Mary Jane Bernholtz, Rita Vanacore and Cindy O’Conner.
Dubbed the “Fab Four” by supporters during the campaign, Legnini and the others stood on a platform that opposed the incumbents’ plan to close the Phoenicia Elementary School and float a multi-million dollar bond to build a new middle school at the district’s Boiceville campus in the Town of Olive.
Following that meeting Legnini circulated a letter to the community that explained his actions.
In the letter, Legnini expressed frustration with a board that, in his view, lacked the harmony necessary to do the best job for the district. He also stated that, as president, he wanted every board member to support the decisions made by the board “rather than grandstanding and asserting that one’s own righteousness exceeds another’s.”
At a special meeting Friday afternoon in the high school library, the remaining board members thanked the absent Legnini for his service, then immediately took on the task of naming a new president.
Ultimately it was Trustee Maxanne Resnick who was appointed, but only after Trustee Michelle Friedel offered fellow Olive resident Richard Wolff for the post.
The board also decided to invite anyone interested in Legnini’s spot on the board to come to the next meeting, set for Feb. 17 at the Phoenicia School, prepared to explain why they should be appointed.
For more information contact District Superintendent Dr. Leslie Ford at 657-6383