Greece School Board to Fire Chief


Greece School Board to Fire Chief
an appeal
with state
to get her
tob back.
GREECE- Greeceres!
dents could learn tonight
whether the Board of Education plans to fire embattled schools Superintendent Margaret Keller-Cogan
"We are committed to
having a resolution to the
employment relationship
betweetr Dr. Keller-Cogan
and the district," said
Board President Ken
Keller-Coganhasbeen in
limbo since late September, when the board placed
her, Executive Director of
Human ResourcesBrian
Ladewig and Assistant Superinteddent of Elementary Schools Kathleen Pagano-Fuller on paid leave
while it investigated
teacherchargesof discrimination. The board said it
was putting them on leave
to ensurethat their ptesence in the schools would
not influencethe results of
the investi8ation.
Walsh said the board is
working carefully to deal
with four lawsuitsfiled last
week by the teachers urho
claim they were discrimilated against becauseof
their age,and with allegations that the district's orevious administration I of
which Keller-Cogan was
part - used teacher evaluation processes as a
cudgelto quiet critics.
A fifth teacher discrimination claim has been referred by the U.S. Equal
Employment Commisiion
for possibleprosecutionby
the JusticeDepartment.
"I think we owe it to
everybodyinvolved to go
slowly and makea decisi6n
in the best interest of first,
the kids, and then gveryone
elsewho's involved."'said
Keller-Coganjoined the
Greeceschoolsin 1999and
servedasassistantsuperiatendent for curricdufo and
instruction until becomins
deputy superintendent foi
student learning and accountability in 2004.
The board of education
tapped her to replace Superintendent Steven L.
Walts iust days after his
April 2005announcemenf
that he'd leave the district
in June to take over a Virginia school district.
What'sat stake
of the
lf yougo
When Keller-Coganwas appointed to the positionwithout
What: GreeceBoardof Educaan outside search,Don Pallozzi,
president of the Creece tion me€tsto discussthe employment
statusof SuperintendTeachers Assoclation, said
teachers worriod that meanr ent MargaretKeller.Cogan.
boardwill likelyretireimmedi.
there would be no changes.
"She worked hand in hand atelyinto a closedexecutive
if anyactionis
with Steve for seven years," Pal- session.However,
lozzi said. "But Meg didd't really takenon Keller-Cogan's
have the opportunity to do mentstatus,it will be done
duringpublicportionsof the
Sheheld her new position for meeting.
When: 5:30
only a few weeks before the
boardput her on leave.
750 MaidenLane.
During the summer,the five
Details:(585) 956-23 1 1
teachers won determinations
from the U.S.EqualEmployment
Opportunity Commissionthat held, but district officials failed
their complaitrts of discrimina- to accommodateher disabilities
tion under the Walts administra- and behaved in a way "tantatiou bad merit.
mount to harassment of (LuOn the basisofthose findings, ther) basedon her disability.,,
reading specialists Evelyn
Luther's attorney, Nelson
Krane, Carole Giordano and Thomas of Dolin, Thomas &
.Choryl Livoti filed suit last Solomon,said the EEOCueually
1week,claiming administrators upholds chargesin only about 5
isingled out older teaihers for percent of all complaints, and
harsher evaluatious,createdin- tle agency'smove to refer Lutolerable working conditions, tbet's complaint to the tustice
humiliated and degraded them Department is "an extremely
to their peers and colleagues, ra-restep."
and coerced them to retire
Walsh wouldn't comment on
thlough threats ofpublic disci the specificsofthe larrrsuits,but
plinary actions.
said it's likely the board will try
Teacher Mary Donlon filed a to reach settlements.
separateagediscrimination suit
He also would not say
last week alleging that after she whether the board intends to recomplained about younger,less instateKeller-Cogan,but did say
qualifiedteachersbeing hired to that acting Superintendent
foseteach summer school, she re- phine Kehoe has agreed to stay
ceived unfair as interlm superintendent if
miliations and criticisms aimed neededwhile the board seeksa
at forcing her to resiga or retire. new superintendent.
Walsh said it's unlikelv the
board will discussLadewi! and
While the EEOC freed those Pagano-Fuller'sfate today,but
teachersto pursue suits against their employmentstatuswill ulthe district on their own, the timately be decidedby the disagency found claims by teacher trict's superintendent,whomTerry Luther so compelling ever that may be,
they sent them to the Justice
Keller-Cogan has taken steps
Department for possible prose- to get her iob back.She'sfiled an
appealwith the state Education
Luther, a calcer survivor who Departmeni, claming the board
teachesat GreeceArcadia, said never had authority to place her
she was singled out after she on leave,breachedher contract,
told a supervisorthat somecur- denied her due process, took
riculum was "infaotile" and "arbitrary and unwarranted acdidn't challenge her students.
tion" againsther and not only
'After that, I couldn't pat
my intends to fire her, but effecI rear end and chew gum at the tively dld when it placed her on
* sametime as far as the district leave.
Walsh said the district's attorfi was concerned,"she said,
!l Her EEOC determination neys will respond to the appeal
statedthat her claimsofage dis- m commg days.o
crimination could not be uo- llICDERM0T@D€nffitnndChronjcle.con