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K’Tori guilty, gets 3-month suspension: Arbitrator

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The arbitrator, Michael Scheinman, recommended a 90-day suspension, which it appeared K'Tori had already served.A spokeswoman for the city Education Department, which brought the charges in a disciplinary hearing, said K'Tori would not be returned to his former school, PS/IS 268 at 92-07 175th St. The announcement was expected to disappoint a group of parents who have clamored for the administrator's return ever since he was removed before the start of the academic year. K'Tori has been assigned to an office of Region 3 since leaving a temporary stopover, IS 8 in Jamaica, in April, and the Education Department spokeswoman did not indicate whether he would stay there or be assigned to another school.K'Tori had asked Scheinman to return him to PS/IS 268, but Scheinman ruled that he lacked the authority to do so.During public sessions of his disciplinary hearing, which ended March 9, K'Tori's lawyers defended their client's actions. They said the late report was just not in the proper format, while the purchases may have constituted technical violations but were made in the best interest of having the school, then a new facility, up and running on time. They also said directives about the lottery process from his superiors had been unclear. Above all, they said the charges were trumped up by district and regional superiors who felt threatened by his dynamic leadership.In his ruling, issued May 12, Scheinman found that K'Tori was not guilty of throwing papers at a superior and blocking the placement of a special education class at his school, two other charges filed by the department. He did find, however, that K'Tori purchased more than $88,000 in supplies from unapproved vendors without permission and said opening a new school was not a valid excuse. "He did not properly adhere to required bidding practices and he attempted to cover up his failure to do so," Scheinman said. The arbitrator also determined that K'Tori took more than 100 students outside of the lottery process, which he was directed not to do."Respondent was deceitful in his attempt to prevent regional administrators from discovering his private application process," Scheinman said of K'Tori. He stressed that the administrator worked for the Education Department, not vice versa."Nor regardless of their experience, expertise or popular support, may they establish administrative and educational priorities in conflict with the department's duly promulgated directives and policies," Scheinman said of principals.The Education Department asked for a six-month suspension, but Scheinman gave K'Tori three. K'Tori could not be reached for comment.Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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