TOWN OF HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – CBS2 has learned what the struggling Hempstead School District accuses its suspended superintendent of doing wrong.
Dr. Shimon Waronker was brought in to fight corruption and turn around a 37 percent graduation rate. Now, he’s defending himself against school board charges of gross misconduct as he faces dismissal.
“He will not stand accused of wrongdoing when he has done nothing wrong except to try to help,” Waronker’s attorney, Frederick Brewington, told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff by phone Friday.
In 172 pages of allegations, there are 41 grounds for dismissal spelled out in scathing detail, including conflict of interest and bid rigging by contracting with his own educational foundation, the New American Initiative.
WATCH: CBS2 Documentary ‘37%’ On Struggling Hempstead School District
The new board majority claims Waronker “neither stopped working nor stopped guiding the operations of NAI” and “misled the district… pretending… he no longer had a professional or financial relationship with NAI.”
The board said it’s a reprehensible hoax on the district, because NAI was in the red and not a viable educational model.
“The charges and specifications read like some great summer fiction novel,” said Brewington. “The truth will rise to the top.”
Hostra University education professor Alan Singer predicts a costly legal battle.
“It’s not just a big waste of money. I think that this board is trying to cover the tracks. Waronker was brought in to uncover corruption in the district. I think that they don’t want that corruption uncovered,” he said. “He never hid the involvement. In fact, his relationship with the New American Initiative appears to be one of the reasons he was hired.”
The board president says the legal fees reflect the burden imposed on the district by Waronker’s contract.
It’s history repeating itself in a district that has spent millions in a leadership revolving door, Gusoff reported.
“The money that is being used to try to get rid of Waronker is money that should be used to improve education,” said Singer.
Waronker now has the right to choose an impartial hearing officer to decide his case after 30 days in a hearing he can choose to make public.
For more on the ongoing turmoil in the Hempstead School District, watch CBS2’s documentary 37%.