Few Answers Given In Peekskill School Transcript Scandal

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Peekskill Schools Superintendent James Willis and school board members briefly addressed the district's transcript scandal at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Community members looking for more information on the transcript scandal in the Peekskill City School District got very little at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.

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Should Peekskill guidance counselors be fired over the recent transcript scandal?

  • Yes-- what was done was wrong

    58%
  • No--but they shouldn't be on paid reassignment while the probe continues

    15%
  • No--we need to give them the benefit if the doubt

    27%

In front of a crowd that included several network TV news crews and more security personnel than recent meetings, Superintendent of Schools James Willis and Board of Education President Joseph Urbanowicz told those on hand that there was little they could do but ask for patience from district parents.

“I know it’s frustrating to hear, but because of the investigation and the fact that its been turned over to law enforcement, answering specific questions will be very difficult, so we thank you for your understanding,” Willis said.

At least 34 students in the district were given credit for coursework they did not complete, according to school officials. The investigation began after administrators found irregularities on some transcripts earlier this month.

Three high school guidance counselors and one middle school guidance counselor have been reassigned as the district investigates transcript irregularities. They have been placed on administrative reassignment with pay.

Urbanowicz told those on hand Tuesday that the board would “diligently and vigilantly” address the matter, but also said he was unable to give much in the way of details.

“We cannot speak about individual employees because of board responsibility imposed upon us by the Education Department of the state of New York to protect the rights that employees generally have,” Urbanowicz said. “The Board of Education hopes you know it understands its responsibility to ensure that the privacy and due process rights of the staff will be kept.”

For some of the students, the removal of the illegitimate credits will have no bearing on graduation if they pass their classes in the second semester, while other students will be required to complete additional coursework to graduate in June. A third group of students will be required to complete additional coursework over the summer or take another semester beyond this year to graduate.

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justin.laine.75:

I assume the temptation are high when there's money involved, we should know better than this. There's a research paper I found that approached the "pathology" of these practices. It was an interesting read for me.