West Seneca Central School Board members abruptly fired their interim superintendent Monday night and installed a district administrator as the interim.
Whitney K. Vantine had served as superintendent since Mark Crawford – the district's longtime superintendent – retired April 28.
The new interim is Matthew Bystrak, who serves as West Seneca's director of pupil personnel. School Board members gave no reason for the change at their meeting.
"It's personnel, we really can't say," said newly elected board President Carol Jarczyk.
The action revealed deep divisions on the School Board that surfaced last year under a different majority. Jarczyk and Vice President Janice Dalbo were re-elected, and Diane Beres was elected, with strong union support. They formed a new majority with Mary Busse on Monday at the board's reorganization meeting. They voted to remove Vantine. Three board members, who had been part of the majority last year, abstained from the vote.
Vantine, who was paid $750 a day on a contract that extended to June 30, 2018, was left sitting at the board table alone at the beginning of the meeting when the board met in executive session about his future. He was brought into the executive session about 7:28 p.m., more than an hour after it started.
WSeneca Interim Supt Whitney Vantine waits in board room, shortly before Bd came out of exec session & fired him. pic.twitter.com/knJiGQ0a4y
— Barbara O'Brien (@bobrieneden) July 10, 2017
Minutes later, he walked into the board room, grabbed his keys and folder, and left. Board members returned without him, and then terminated him.
Vantine had previously served as superintendent at Friendship, Union Springs, Lewiston-Porter, Cold Spring Harbor and Tonawanda school districts.
Dalbo said the board plans to restart the search for a permanent superintendent soon, and plans to involve the community in the search.
"We certainly want to involve all of our stakeholders," she said.