Sunday, February 28, 2016
Corruption and incompetence in the NYC school system: The school offers one Advanced Placement class, English, but no students have passed it or any other college-prep class.
The business manager of a crumbling Brooklyn high school has put four relatives on the payroll, whistleblowers charge.
Alma Encarnacion has been running the show at the Urban Assembly HS of Music and Art in Downtown Brooklyn since Principal Paul Thompson is often absent, four teachers told The Post.
“He’s out of the building so much, there’s literally no one running the school except Alma,” one said. A lone assistant principal quit last year.
According to DOE records, a business manager works directly under the principal and oversees budget, finance, personnel and other administrative matters. Encarnacion made $99,916 last year.
Her daughter, Cecily Fonseca, is the school’s parent coordinator, with a $40,185 salary.
Adam Collado, whose mother’s cousin is married to Encarnacion, is the school’s computer technician, making $37,047.
Amy Rosa, a niece, is the school secretary and handles payroll. Her salary is $56,681.
Diana Hernandez, Rosa’s cousin, is the attendance coordinator, collecting $41,531.
Under Department of Education rules, employees may not hire, employ or supervise a “near relative,” which includes a son or daughter, niece or nephew.
The DOE said it will investigate the family ties. “We take the allegation of a conflict of interest seriously,” said spokeswoman Devora Kaye.
After 11 years, academics are abysmal at the 387-student UAMA, located on the seventh and eighth floors of a Flatbush Avenue building that also houses two other schools. The graduation rate is 56 percent, but only 4 percent are college-ready, based on low Regents exam scores.
The school offers one Advanced Placement class, English, but no students have passed it or any other college-prep class.
Teachers say the principal pressures them to pass up to 80 percent of the students — most of whom don’t deserve it.
One teacher called the school “a horror show . . . kids fighting all the time, no one to break it up, throwing books, throwing things at teachers, cursing — beyond any X-rated thing you can imagine. There’s no respect or policies about anything. It’s basically a free-for-all.”
Another staffer said of Thompson, a musician who sources say was a substitute teacher before becoming principal in 2005, “It’s hard to tell when he’s in the building because he just doesn’t come out. There are days when we don’t see him at all. Half the students don’t know his name.”
The school reports 56 percent of students “chronically absent,” but the teacher believes attendance is falsified. Three students whom “I’ve never seen” or missed several months last semester were marked absent just 17 days on official records. Schools get funding based on daily attendance.
Insiders believe Thompson, who made $150,333 last year, has gotten away with an absentee performance because he’s well-connected. His wife is Saskia Levy Thompson, a former DOE official who rose to deputy chancellor in charge of opening and closing schools in 2013, and Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s special adviser for educational policy in 2014.
Thompson did not return messages. Encarnacion would not discuss her relatives: “I have nothing to say.”