The special education director, Dr. Diedre Osypuk, is on paid administrative leave during the rest of the state’s investigation into complaints against the district, the schools superintendent announced.
Steve Falcone, superintendent, announced the leave in an email noting that “this administrative leave is without prejudice and should not be interpreted as a finding of any inappropriate action on the part of Dr. Osypuk or any other person. Rather, given Dr. Osypuk’s responsibility for the PPT/IEP process, we have determined that investigation independent of Dr. Osypuk is advisable.”
The email did not include whether Osypuk would be paid. A later email from Falcone confirmed she would still be getting a paycheck while on leave.
The announcement continued:
“In the interim, the assistant special education directors shall have responsibility for their respective areas under my overall supervision, namely Laura Straiton will be responsible for preschool education, Liz Wesolowski will be responsible for special education issues, grades K-5, and Carleen Wood will be responsible for special education issues, grades 7-12. We will be working to complete our review promptly, and we are confident that we will be able to continue to address the needs of special education students and staff without interruption.”
In another email to district parents, Falcone acknowledge the allegations made by parents at the recent state-sponsored meeting in regard to the complaint filed earlier this year.
Parents alleged that “substantive changes had been made to IEPs outside of the PPT process,” Falcone said. “We take these allegations very seriously, because any such conduct would compromise the PPT process and violate the law.
“We must promptly address these allegations and remedy any violations as soon as possible. We are cooperating fully with the State Department of Education as it investigates these allegations, and we have begun to conduct our own internal investigation into these allegations. We ask that any parent or families who suspects or has determined that there were any unilateral changes in PPT documents share their specific information and concerns with the lead investigator at the State Department of Education, Michael Tavernier (at firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or with me directly, at email@example.com or by telephone at 203-656-7412. Thank you very much.”
The state is expected to conclude its investigation by Sunday, June 30.