The New York State Department of Education began an audit on May 13, 2019 to look at issues deriving from a Grand Jury Report released on the Newburgh Enlarged City School District. In a letter sent to Superintendent Roberto Padilla, the audit will cover attendance records and to determine if the credit recovery process is in compliance.
“The objectives of this audit are to determine if internal controls are appropriately designed and operating effectively to ensure the adequacy and reliability of student attendance records and to determine if the credit recovery process is in compliance with New York State regulations. The scope of our audit will cover the period July 1, 2017, through April 30, 2019,” wrote Director of Office of Audit Services, David Sears.
The Grand Jury Report with information from an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney recommended that no criminal charges be made, but discovered a failing system and created recommendations to remediate the issues discovered. The report found a complete disregard for attendance policies when it comes to student athletes, and misuses of the APEX system when it comes to credit recovery.
The district held a special meeting on Tuesday to outline some of the work it has done since the release of the report including hiring extra attendance staff to monitor attendance more closely, change in attendance policy with stricter rules on creating excused absences and the Board of Education voted to suspend the use of APEX learning program. They will look at evening classes and other options for credit recovery opportunities.
“We have been fully transparent in our collaboration with the New York State Department of Education. We look forward to the guidance they can provide as experts in education. We welcome the audit from New York State and will continue to work together to improve the quality of education that we offer our scholars, faculty, staff, and community,” said Dr. Roberto Padilla, Superintendent for the Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
The state involvement is long awaited by many in the district. whistleblower Richard Desiderio wrote to the state numerous times before and after the release of the grand jury report asking for an investigation. District Attorney David Hoovler called on the state to get involved when he released the report in April.