At Competitive Stuyvesant, Alumni Are Waging a Bitter Contest

Mr. Kim (’93), says his detractors are a “handful of malcontents” acting out of personal animus against him and hurting the organization and the school.

This is not the first case of discord among Stuyvesant alumni groups. For more than a decade, two competing organizations fought a bitter and costly war over which should be the primary fund-raising vehicle for the school’s alumni. The Campaign for Stuyvesant was started at the behest of a former principal, Jinx Cozzi Perullo, with the goal of raising a $12 million endowment. However, Ms. Perullo eventually left the group, and Stanley Teitel, her successor as principal, set up a different organization, Friends of Stuyvesant, also with the goal of raising an endowment.

The Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association, which was started in the late 1980s, traditionally focused on raising money to help support extracurricular programs at the school and for scholarships for graduating students.

Members of the association’s board of directors are elected to three-year terms, which are staggered so that roughly a third of the positions come open each year. The board nominates a slate of candidates (the same number as there are open positions), and the dues-paying members of the association vote them up or down. The directors elect their officers annually. Mr. Kim was first elected president in 2014.

After ascending to the presidency, Mr. Kim announced a deal with the other two organizations under which they would dissolve and fund-raising would be centralized in the alumni association. At that point, the three groups had combined assets of about $2.4 million. By contrast, the endowment funds created by alumni of Stuyvesant’s rivals, the Bronx High School of Science and Brooklyn Technical High School, stand at $6 million and $13 million.

Although many alumni agreed that it was important to centralize fund-raising, murkiness about the terms of the deal led some to accuse Mr. Kim of acting without fully informing association members.

Beth Knobel (’80), a former producer for CBS News, is one of those critics. She joined the board of the association in June 2015 to push what she said were needed reforms. She contended that the board’s election procedures were undemocratic, the organization was spending too much on management and the group’s financial reporting needed to be more transparent.

She said other board members were hostile to her proposals.

Once on…

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