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Jun 13, 2012 12:33 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Remsenburg-Speonk School Board Suspends Employee

Jun 13, 2012 1:13 PM

The Remsenburg-Speonk Board of Education voted this week to indefinitely suspend an employee of the district with pay so it can pursue charges that, under New York State Board of Education law, could eventually lead to her termination.

School Superintendent Dr. Ron Masera on Wednesday morning declined to identify the employee, explaining that it is a personnel issue, but confirmed that the charges being pursued are not criminal in nature. He would not say if the suspended employee is a teacher; the resolution adopted by the Board of Education during Monday night’s meeting only describes the suspended party as an “employee.” The document also refers to the employee as a “her.”

“I cannot comment on the matter at this time,” Dr. Masera said. “This is a very sensitive personnel issue.”

According to a copy of the resolution, which was unanimously approved, the employee was suspended following an investigation. The resolution states: “Whereas, the Board of Education has determined ... that probable cause exists for the charges preferred against said employee by the Superintendent of Schools, now be it resolved that the employee named in Executive Session is hereby suspended from her duties with pay, and reassigned as determined by the Superintendent of Schools.”

“I have no comment at this time,” said Board of Education President Kevin Federico. “It is a very sensitive issue—someone’s career and life is being held out there.”

At the same meeting, the board passed resolutions that eliminate three positions, moves that were announced prior to the adoption of the 2012-13 budget. The board has opted not to replace a teacher who is retiring at the end of the school year, and also eliminated two other full-time positions: a special education teacher and a teacher’s aide. The retiring teacher, Michele Cavouto, had been employed by the district for more than 22 years. The board did not identify the other two educators.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we are excessing three positions due to budgetary constraints,” said Board of Education Vice President Cecilia Spellman-Frey. “In a small district like this, everyone knows each other, everyone is invaluable, and we hope that with economic change we can bring these people back.”

A half dozen parents in attendance on Monday night criticized the board for eliminating the positions.

“Are there any other avenues we can explore to correct this egregious error?” asked Parent Teacher Association President Catherine Woolfson. “It is so disheartening when it is who I consider to be one of the best teachers in the building.” She declined to name the teacher whose job she was trying to save.

Dr. Masera said the board had no choice but to make the cuts, adding that the three employees are at the top of the list if the district has the ability to fill the positions in the future.

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More information needed on this. We are paying this salary for someone who did something which was bad enough to be suspended for.
By local12 (34), Remsenburg on Jun 14, 12 7:04 PM
If you spent any time at the school you would know who and why. Halloween is only celebrated one day a year.
By ba (50), speonk on Jun 18, 12 4:20 PM