New York State Regent Confirms Existence of Letter Withheld by New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Organsciak for Past 16 Months

Written By: Robert Cox

The other day Bob Marrone asked me on WVOX about the impetus behind creating this web site. As I was preparing to read the content of the following email exchange (below) to the school board that night I avoided getting into any details on the air as that might have given the BoE time to prepare some covers story for the information contained in the letter.

For the past six years I have been repeatedly lied to by school officials who have sought to cover up the repeated failures of department heads and staff to do their job with regard to my oldest son who has since graduated from New Rochelle High School and gone to college. With him safely out of the school system I am more comfortable beginning to reveal the full extent of the lies, deceit, abuse, incompetence and retaliation that I have experience in the New Rochelle School District over those years. In fact, I have thousands of pages of transcripts and records which I intend to publish over the coming months. The picture they will paint of the New Rochelle School District is not a flattering one, to say the least.

I have held on to these documents and patiently gathered more and gotten various school officials on record waiting for the day when I felt I had the size audience that would insure that all of New Rochelle would come to know the full extent of the corruption that has infected our school district. Readers so far have gotten a taste — misappropriated trucks and vans, arrests by the DA’s office for grand larceny and falsifying billing records, no-show jobs, sexual harassment, possession and distribution of child pornography. I will take my time rolling out what I have been gathering over these past few years but rest assured…you ain’t seen nothing yet.

This is not to say there are not many fine teachers, administrators, staff — and even a few board members. In all fairness to them my three other kids have had excellent experiences in New Rochelle. Unfortunately it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the bunch and New Rochelle has some extremely rotten apples. In fact, there are quite a few criminals working for the school district including senior officials who are paid large sums of money by our school system. It is my hope that as the full story comes to light it will start to dawn on members of the Board of Education that they have been played for fools by corrupt individuals who will say and do anything — include break the law — to maintain their incomes, benefits, pensions and power.

My reward for speaking the truth and challenging the corrupt administration of the New Rochelle School District is to have been treated as pariah. The district has retaliated against my son and my wife, a teacher working for the district, and taken extreme measures against me personally including hiring a private investigator to search my background, having people call my neighbors and business colleagues and clients to ask questions about my finances, banning me from school grounds, prohibiting administrators from speaking with me and even went so far as to call the web hosting provider of Talk of the Sound to “demand” that my web site be taken down because it was critical of school officials.

Welcome to public education cosa nostra style!

As one former school official put it: New Rochelle is run by a pack of “liars, crooks and thieves”. I concur. I also know that few in New Rochelle will want to believe the full nature of the abuse that has occurred in New Rochelle. Facts, however, are a stubborn thing. As readers will come to see, the records speak for themselves.

To begin to understand any of this it will be well to start with a letter sent by the State of New York Department of Education to the New Rochelle School District in August of 2008. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak has repeatedly denied to me and to members of the school board that any such letter exists, in effect calling me a liar. I first learned of the letter’s existence in March 2009 as the result of some serendipity involving Saul B. Cohen, a board member of the New York State Board of Regents, who happened to live about a mile from my house. As a Regent, Mr. Cohen is one of the most powerful and important people in the field of education in the State of New York and his word is generally considered good within New York State.

As the exchange clearly shows, Mr. Cohen informs me that a letter was sent from an investigator at NYSED to the principal of New Rochelle High School. As a parent, I am lawfully entitled to a copy of the letter. The letter was in response to my letter two months earlier requesting an investigation into why there were TWO different copies of my son’s answer sheet with different answers, different handwriting and most importantly the wrong score. It has been my contention to the district and the state that my son’s test score was intentionally scored incorrectly in order to cause him to fail his Chemistry Honors class three years ago.

My son’s chemistry teacher, Marissa Raniolo, was upset with the outcome of a resolution meeting in which, due to her failure to do her job, my son was to be allowed by the district to to get an alternative grade in chemistry. She believed that if she caused my son to fail her class it would undo a deal between Don Conetta, the principal of New Rochelle High School, Yvette Goorevitch, Director of Special Education, and myself. Her actions did, in fact, cause the deal to unravel and as a result I was required to spend nine months in litigation with the District. Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak paid lawyers over $150,000 to tie me up in hearings for almost a year. Most such hearing take place in a single morning. My son’s hearing took place over 14 full-day sessions, the entire process took nearly year and produced hundreds of pages of exhibits and over two thousands pages of testimony.

The source of the dispute? My son has a learning disability. The district provided a list of classroom accommodations to help him cope with his disability. The list has the force of federal law and failure to provide the accommodations on the list is a civil rights violation. For reasons which remain a mystery even to school officials, Ms. Raniolo simply refused repeated requests to provide the accommodations for my son. Specifically, he was entitled to preferential seating, extra time on tests and to complete in-class assignments and entitled a copy of class notes/powerpoint presentations. The effort required of the teacher to provide these accommodations is de minimis yet she refused. Why? I have never really understood but the result has been three years of wrangling with the school district which has fought me every step of the way at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For my son, this was the fourth year in a row that he was forced to contend with special education staff who failed to properly inform teachers of the accommodations and services my son was to be provided by the district and teachers, once properly informed, simply refused to provide the list of accommodations even though these accommodations required little or no effort on their part. Whatever their reason for refusing to provide accommodations to my son, once my wife and I complained about it, the matter became a “turf war” with the teacher, the union and the administration circling the wagons to “protect” the union member at the expense of the child.

The district ultimately settled the case and agreed to allow my son to retake the Chemistry exam with the understanding that the grade on the test would become the grade for the entire class. Unfortunately, more than a year passed and he had to basically re-learn Chemistry over this summer vacation. He gave up his summer job and we cancelled family vacation plans so we could stay home with him while he studied.

It was in preparing for the exam that the existence of two different answer sheets first came to light. It is a rather obvious violation of Regents Exam protocol and indicates that over a dozen aspects of the Regents test protocol were not followed. This single incident involved four different district employees who all violated NYSED policies and procedures. In fact, these are crimes including fraud and creating false records.

When I learned in May 2008 that my son had actually passed the test and the course and that the entire nine month hearing process was unnecessary I was, needless to say, very unhappy. I wanted the district to come up with a way to give him a grade that fair to him and did not require that he spent the summer re-learning Chemistry.

In May of 2008 I informed Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak about the matter and that the District was in breach of our stipulation agreement because, in fact, the hearing and resulting agreement were all predicated on a falsehood — that my son had failed Chemistry Honors when he had not. When the District refused to take action I filed a complaint with New York State a month later but never got a response from the State. It was only through the exchange with Regent Cohen that I learned that the State had sent a response. It was only then that I learned that not only had the state investigator concurred that there has been improprieties but that the District admitted there had been a problem.

To put this in full context, it was my frustration with the behavior of school staff and administrators seeking to cover for them and in particular this matter involving the Chemistry test which spurred me to start attending board meeting, begin to speak during the public comment period and…start this web site. All this on the heels of years of prior, similar malfeasance on the part of school officials seeking to cover up other errors by other teachers.

It has now been 16 months since the District received the letter. Any parent is entitled to any school record that references their child. They are required by law to turn over that letter. Even now Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak continues to tell school board members that no such letter exists.

I suppose it is just fine with Board members that Mr. Organisciak calls me a liar up and down. I wonder how Mr. Cohen will feel about Mr. Organisciak calling him a liar?

The exchange follows:

From: Saul B. Cohen
Subject: Re: NRHS Regents Exam Improprieties
Date: March 19, 2009 4:38:55 PM EDT
To: Robert Cox

Dear Mr. Cox,

In response to your letter I met with David Abrams, Director of Assessment for the New York State Dept. of Education. Mr. Abrams showed me the file relating to your son Owen’s case. The file includes your 6-11-08 letter to Mr. T. Schoeck of the NYSED testing office, as well as the 8-25-08 letter from Meg Overocker, NYSED Examination Specialist to the Principal of New Rochelle High School.

Mr. Abrams assured me that they did not ignore your complaint, but did indeed review the test scores, as reported in the 8-25-08. He stated that Mr. Schoeck had informed you that the Department review had been completed, with raw scores of 62 and converted scores of 74. He also informed me that use of two different answer sheets by the school is prohibited by his office, and that the school admitted that there had been a problem with the scoring. However, NYSED’s policy is that the school has the option to accept of reject NYSED’s review.

When I asked him what recourse a parent had under this policy, he recommended that you take up the matter with the School Superintendent, Dr. Richard Organisciak. He added that you could call him directly if you wished further clarification.

I personally feel that the policy of leaving the decision of leaving the decision to the school district, while generally appropriate, does not protect the student should the should the district fail to follow NYSED’s regulations on testing or to respond to a legitimate complaint. This is a policy the needs to be revisited, and I shall request such a review when the new State Education Commissioner takes office.

Thank you for alerting me to the problem. I appreciate your frustrations, and wish Owen the best in his future studies.

Saul B. Cohen

—– Original Message —–
From: “Robert Cox”
To: Saul B. Cohen
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:43 PM
Subject: NRHS Regents Exam Improprieties

Mr. Cohen,

We have not met. I am a parent from New Rochelle. Among other things I run a local news web site called Talk of the Sound.

You will have to excuse me but until a recent news story mentioning your re-election to the New York State Board of Regent I was unaware that a New Rochelle resident held such an important position. I had pretty much given up going through official channels but figure I will take one more shot here.

The short version is that last May my son was preparing to retake the NYS Chemistry Regents. He was retaking the test because he had failed the course after scoring a 67 on the exam. His tutor asked to see a copy of his original exam in order to prepare him for the August 2008 exam. What we received back from the school was two different versions of the test answer sheet. The answer sheets were clearly marked by different people, both contained the exact same score (67).
The raw score on both tests was the same (52).

The problem — other than there were two different versions of the answer sheet – is that raw score totals were added up incorrectly. Further, one of the questions was marked correct on one exam and incorrect on another so that one of the raw scores was incorrect. Depending on which answer sheet you use, my son had his raw score total improperly reduced by 10 or 11 raw score points. He should have had a 74 or 75 on the exam. This would have given him a passing grade in the class and since it was an honors class his score would have been adjusted up 10% in calculating this grade point average for college.

The impact of all of this is that two years after taking the class he had to work with a tutor, attending night classes and spend over 100 hours last summer preparing to retake the exam. He did and scored a 90.

I reported this to the District which has sought to sweep the matter under the rug. I reported this to the New York State Assessment office which refused to take any action — even to ask to view the two different versions of the exam. I then sought to raise the issue at a school board meeting and was repeatedly prevented from speaking. The board finally agreed to meet in executive session last September. They listened to my request for an independent investigation, said
nothing and has never responded since.

As this test is ostensibly your test, I am bringing it to your attention and hoping that you might be willing to look at the two answer sheets to see more clearly the many ways in which these answer sheets indicated various improprieties.

If you agree that something untoward has happen I can then explain to you WHY someone at New Rochelle High School would have cheated in order to LOWER a student’s test scores. In either case, the guidelines for the handling of Regents exams and test scores is detailed and requires various sign-offs from school officials. It should be quite clear from the answer sheets in my possession that many of the guidelines were not followed and so the sign-offs were improper. In looking into this matter, I am told that the as a matter of routine, teachers at the high school treat the Regents Exams in a cavalier manner.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Robert Cox

NOTE: To protect non-public email addresses the email addresses were redacted from this exchange

The existence of this letter shows that I have been lied to for 16 months by school officials and that they have lied because either they knew they were lying or because Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak was lying to them. In either case, one thing is for sure. Mr. Organsciak has known of this letter all along, lied about it dozens of times to many people including board members and lied to me.

This is not, however, about a letter.

This is about school officials and staff who were willing to punish my son, retaliate against my wife and defame me in order to cover up the bad behavior of one teacher — Marissa Raniolo. These officials should by now realize that I am never, ever going to forget what they put my son through over the several years or the way in which my wife is treated now or all the lies they have spread around town about me.

You had your turn.

Now its mine.

6 thoughts on “New York State Regent Confirms Existence of Letter Withheld by New Rochelle Schools Superintendent Organsciak for Past 16 Months”

  1. Just another “isolated incident” – Right ?
    You go Bob . I’m curious to see how many times people need to have their noses rubbed in the filth before they realize how much b.s. is pumped out from the NR school district mouths . This whole incident with you son’s test scores , by itself , would be reason for an investigation by state officials , yet , somehow the district manages to cover itself with lies and misdirection . Every post chronicles and documents the complete failure of accountability of a district beholding to no one , not even the taxpayer . Costa , Demasi , Henry , failing to help a kid with broken wrists , discipline marches @ Trinity ,multiple failed health inspections (more than any district in the county), assault on a special needs kid , racist hangman’s nooses , underreported violence includung stabbings , complete incompetence and irresponsibility by Organisciak and Quinn (aka Mr Garrison and Mr Hat) in evaluating reduced assessments for the budget , failure to represent the truth in achievements , North/South divide , a high school that requires a squad of police officers surrounding the school everyday when school lets out (where else do you see THAT) , improper pensioning -211 waivers , publicly lying about class sizes at Trinity , severe drop in national rankings by newsweek , conflict of interests between Fuse pres and PTA (talk about inbreeding) , lying in public about illegal NR residents using our schools only to admit later they do exist , improper advocating of board members by unions , Jeff Hastie promising the moon while campaigning then failing to make even the most remote effort lest he be blackballed by his oppressors , threatening to discredit legal and proper approved tax assessment reductions and try to take more money from law biding citizens , all this and I’ve only been reading this site for about one year .
    Well that certainly justifies the raises they handed themselves this year – right ?
    So it’s no surprise your son was not only abused , but the district tried to cover it up . Thank heavens you have the tenacity to follow through or your son would have been shafted like the special ed dept does to non english speaking parents who don’t understand their rights . They’re acting about as responsible as someone driving up North Ave while completely drunk . Let’s hope they dont crash .
    Hello , people , do you believe “isolated incidents” really explains this behavior ? Would you accept this if you were running the district ? The “facade of rectitude” is alive and well in NR and is headquatered in the school district offices .
    Before you know it the budget of lies will be up for your approval . What will you do this time ? The very best thing would be for the state to take a look at how things are run here in NR . Things wil only get better when sunlight is shined into the dark corners and an outsider gets to look at the books .
    So you go Bob , and drive that stake right into the hearts of these evil bloodsuckers . You deserve the vindication and New Rochelle will thank you for it .

  2. Is this teacher still working? How about the Chairperson?
    The Chemistry teacher is a disgrace to the profession. If the Chairperson of the Department and the Principal of the school have not yet figured out how there came to be 2 separate Regents tests from the same student, they DO NOT deserve to continue to work in the district either. How many Regents exams were graded in this school? If this happened to 1 student it may have happened to others.

    Maybe New Rochelle High School should be suspended from administering the Regents exams until these improprieties are resolved.

    Can you trust the District to grade your child’s Regents exam fairly? I certailny would be nervous.

    Completely unacceptable and another example of how Richard Organisciak lies like a cheap rug.

    1. Teacher is still working
      Marissa Raniolo was granted tenure and is, to the best of my knowledge, still teaching at NRHS.

      The science department chairperson is Joyce Kent and she is still working there too. In June 2008, I received a letter from Ms. Kent in which she “responded” to my complaint to Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak that there were TWO copies of my son’s test, one graded solely by Ms. Raniolo and another graded by two people (based on different handwriting and initials which appear on the answer sheet)

      Here is her “answer” (most likely written by a lawyer working for the district)

      It is unfortunate that there was an error made on Owen’s chemistry regents. I can only offer you my sincere apologies. I must, however, take issue with the fact that you are accusing my teacher, Marissa Raniolo, of deliberately making this error. In fact, all science regents are graded in committee. Each teacher is assigned to grade a particular section of the exam and the student remains anonymous. After the section has been graded by one teacher, it is doubled checked by another. Finally, a pair of teachers is assigned to tally up the points on each section and convert the raw score into the actual grade. The error occurred when what should have been a “6” was mistakenly identified as a “5.” As a result, the conversion was incorrect. Ms Raniolo did not do the addition on Owen’s exam and therefore could not have possibly deliberately recorded an incorrect score. I agree that this error should not have occurred and it will, of course, be rectified. His grade is now a 74 instead of a 67. Although we are responsible for grading hundreds of Regents in a short time period, there is really no excuse for errors that affect student performance. I will remind my staff of the importance of accuracy when we begin to grade the exams this year.

      That one of the answer sheets was graded by one person and that the handwriting appears to be that of Marissa Raniolo clearly indicates that the protocol Kent describes in her letter was NOT followed which is the entire point of my complaint. In fact my son’s teacher graded his exam and knew that his was exam.

      This was not just any old exam. This exam has been the subject of a meeting at CIty Hall for over two hours. It was the basis for a resolution agreement that would avoided pending litigation which has, so far, cost the district over a quarter-million dollars in legal fees. School officials and lawyers for the district were eagerly awaiting the outcome of my son’s test. Informed after the fact that the teacher makes a MASSIVE error causing my son to fail a course he did not fail and the best Kent can say is “whoops…sorry about that”.

      Lies piled upon more lies.

      Kent’s reply simply ignores all of these rather inconvenient facts. In classic New Rochelle school district style, having screwed over my son, Kent gets on her high horse to take umbrage that I would dare accuse a teacher of deliberating lowering a score. It is why this entire matter makes me sick. These are people with no moral compass who will say and do anything to cover for each other.

      I would direct the reader to one line in particular. Please pay close attention and re-read this next section if you need to because it is CRITICAL to understanding the nature of the crimes perpetrated here.

      The error occurred when what should have been a “6” was mistakenly identified as a “5.” As a result, the conversion was incorrect.

      The Chemistry Regents exam was 4 sections. A raw score is determined by adding up the total points scored in each section. In my son’s case the tally sheet SAYS that the 4 sections added up to 52 raw score points. In fact they add up to 62. That is why she references “5” and “6”.

      What is supposed to happen is that after the raw score total is calculated by two graders, working independently, the graders then look up the raw score total in a conversion table provided by the NYS Dept of Assessment and use that table to convert a raw score to a “scaled score” which is the final grade for the test.. In this case, the 52 raw score on the tally sheet converted to a 67 scaled score. My son was given a 67 on the test. As Kent admit in her letter, he got a 62 not a 52 so the final grade should have been a 74 not a 67.

      The final grade for the class is calculated by totaling the 4 marking period scores and the regents score and dividing by 5 so that the Regents Exam counts for 20% of the final grade. My son ended up with a 63.7, below a 65, and thus an F. Except he did not get a 67 he got a 74 and thus passed the course.

      The big lie behind what Kent wrote is as follows:

      She says the CONVERSION WAS INCORRECT. No. The conversion was done correctly. A 52 raw score does convert to a 67 scaled score. That was not the problem.

      The problem is that the raw score was calculated incorrectly…on two different answer sheets…by three different graders. By all reasonable measures, it is impossible that three science teachers all failed to correctly add 4 two-digit numbers (and all made the exact same addition error).

      Even after the error was pointed out to the Superintendent of Schools, the high school principal and the head of the science department they continued to insist that the error was a “conversion error’.

      Think about it! The raw score is calculated by adding together 4 two-digit numbers.

      So, they are lying about the nature of the error, ignoring that three teachers made a simple addition error and all made the same error in doing simple addition, that one of the answer sheets shows that one graded graded the entire test (a violation), that the grader was my son’s teacher (a violation) and that my son’s anonymity was not compromised (a violation). Altogether, I counted a dozen violations of NYSED Regents Test protocol involving three teachers, the head of the science department and the school principal.

      To do all this and lie about to parents and state investigators is a crime.

      This is what I mean by piling lie upon lie upon lie. Rather than address the violations or the harm done to my son, Joyce Kent, portrays her teacher as the victim then proceeds to give me a sanctimonious lecture about the integrity of a grading procedure intended to insure fairness and accuracy while admitting to a significant grading error that would not be possible if the procedure had been followed in the first place. In fact, I have two answer sheets provided by the district that clearly show that the procedure was not followed and even the error Kent admits to shows that procedure was not followed.

      But SHE is offended that I dare question the integrity of her teacher. Excuse me while I gag.

      There is ample support my belief that the Raniolo sought to flunk my son but the best they can say she is completely incompetent, violated numerous test protocols and the, apparently, lied about it (the district says they only know of one answer sheet but as I have two different ones SOMEONE is lying).

      I know the means by which this was done — misstating the raw score total.

      It is a surmise but I suspect that the reason for two tests is that Raniolo graded the test and wrote up the tally sheet to give the result she wanted (an “F” for the course). She then was able to get two other teachers to grade the test as if the procedure had been followed but somehow got them to use HER tally of the raw score rather than do it themselves. I have no way of knowing whether these other two teachers were in on it or useful idiots but they are clearly compromised.

      As it only take a few second to add four two-digit numbers I can’t quite figure why these other two teachers would use her tally when they could have done their own quite easily. And even I, who believe these people are idiots, think there are THREE science teachers at NRHS that cannot independently add four two-digit numbers and get the correct answer.

      In either case, there was no “conversion” error so unless Kent is arguing that three teachers cannot add four two-digit numbers there has to be some other explanation. The most obvious being that Raniolo cheated.

      1. How can there be 2 answer sheets?
        Of course the Chair completely obfuscates the real question. You would think her job is not to defend her teachers, her job is too make sure that the students are getting a proper education. But she chose the teacher.

        Students come before teachers, it is that simple.

        I’ve been grading Regents for 2 decades. The rules for grading Regents have changed over the years, but for many years we have had to grade the Regents as a group and no one grades thetr own student’s exams. This is the way it is all across NY.

        It is inconceivable that there would be 2 answer sheets. The dual answer sheets mean a teacher had to fill out an answer sheet sometime after the student had left the room. On whose authority was this answer sheet filled out? Did they erase answers on the original sheet? How would you know?

        If you can’t trust a teacher grading a Regents there aren’t too many people left to trust.

        Students at the end of every regents exam have to sign a declaration that they did not cheat. I guess in New Rochelle they sign the documents for the students and if they are absent, just fill out an answer sheet for them.

        THIS IS A JOKE.

        The teacher should be fired, the chairperson should be fired for not finding out why there are 2 answer sheets, the Principl should be fired for not disciplining his chairperson.

        Who filled out the 2nd answer sheet? This is the unsanswered question for which there is no investigation.

        Besides Bob Cox does anybody care? There is all kinds of corruption in the world and this is just another example of corruption in the New Rochelle School District. A fish rots from the head down.

        The New Rochelle School District cannot be trusted to administer any State Exams until the cause and characters of this corruption are removed.

      2. 2 Answer sheets
        Thank you for this comment. Let me further clarify what I have in my possession.

        I have photocopies of two sets of answer sheets (the “tally sheet” and the test where the answers are indicated. The original is supposed to be in a vault at the high school (or at least it was supposed to be there for some time after the test date). My son’s handwriting and signature is on both copies of the answer sheets.

        It appears to me that after my son took the test at least one photocopy of the original answer sheet was copied and then graded. As a hypothesis, Marissa Raniolo made a copy of my son’s test and graded it. Meanwhile, two other teachers graded the test or at least there are two sets of initials on the test.

        It was not my intent to turn this post into a discussion of the many, many problems with the way my son’s test was graded but as we have someone here who is familiar with grading Regents exams, let me note another problem with the test.

        The two initials test has the same scores reported on the tally sheet for each of the four sections as the test graded by Raniolo. Yet, the test with two initials indicates that question #65 was marked as “correct” whereas the Raniolo test has #65 marked as “incorrect”. If the grading was done legitimately you would expect to see that that tally sheet would show a one point differential in the third section. This is not the case. Despite one test marking #65 correct and the other marking it incorrect both tally sheets show the same total for the third section. That the two teachers grading the two initial test would incorrectly total the third section and do so in a way that exactly matches the tally sheet on the Raniolo test strikes me as HIGHLY unlikely.

        For anyone familiar with mathematical probability, you start to see that there is one instance after another of highly improbable outcomes when multiplied together indicate that the final outcome is virtually impossible with about a 99.999999% certainty.

        In my complaint to New York State I have asserted that there are two copies of my son’s exams which contain all sorts of inexplicable outcomes if protocol was followed. I have accused the teacher of intentionally misgrading my son’s test in order to cause him to fail and that the proof of that is the existence of these two copies of the test including one in the teacher’s own handwriting. The matter was raised all the way up to the level of David Abrams, the Director of the New York State Department of Assessment. His subordinate, Mr. Shroeck, spoke to my wife and told her that in all his many years of responding to complaints about Regents exams he could count on one hand the number of complaints he had received that a teacher LOWERING a test score and that after thinking about more he could not recall EVER receiving such a complaint.

        Despite the serious nature of what a State officials described as an unprecedented allegation, Meg Overrocker, the state investigator, never contacted me and never asked to view the documents in my possession. In fact, she never contacted me at all.

        Rather than address any of the most serious allegations, the district and the state confined themselves to the issue of whether question #65 was, in fact, correct or incorrect. This would be like conducting an investigation of Bernie Madoff and focusing the entire investigation on whether he kept this stolen money at Citibank or Chase. Good to know but hardly the point.

        It is precisely for this reason that when I appeared before the school board in executive session in September 2008 I refused to turn over copies of the exams to district officials and demanded an independent investigation from someone with no connection whatsoever with the New York State education system. The only reason the district lawyer’s want to see those two exams is so they can concoct some sort of story to try to muddy the waters and deflect attention from wrongdoing which clearly occurred in this case.

        In a letter dated July 7, 2008, which I hand delivered to the homes of school board members (because I do not trust the district to deliver such letters) I addressed this and other issues to the board including the fact that official reply I got from Joyce Kent falsely stated that there was a “conversion” error.

        Organisciak sent me a three-page reply dated July 31, 2008. I will likely publish this entire letter in the future but one paragraph applies here:

        With respect to the Regents Examination taken by Owen in June 2007, you have received the acknowledgement of the Science Department and the Principal of the High School that ten points were improperly deducted from the final test score because of an error in calculation…

        As the letter from the Chair of the Science Department (sent on letterhead with Conetta’s name) clearly states, what was “acknowledged” was that there was a conversion error. Organisciak does not correct the record but simply asserts a demonstrably false claim — that I received a letter acknowledging an “error in calculation”.

        The letter goes on to say that he sees no reason why my son’s transcript should be changed to reflect his actual grade in the class and cites several reasons including that I signed an agreement with the district on February 25, 2008 which resolved the entire matter. This is very typical of how the district operates: they lied about my son’s grades, based on that I took the matter to an Impartial Hearing which ended when I signed the Feb 08 agreement, then I find out they lied about my son’s grades but they will not correct his transcript because I signed an agreement. As anyone with common sense (even a lawyer) could tell you, the agreement is invalid if it turns out the district withheld material information which even Organisciak acknowledges in his letter.

        I did see a reason. If my son had been given the grade he had earned (despite the teacher not providing him the class notes, preferential seating and so forth) he would have had a grade in the low 70’s in a Chemistry Honors class. At the high school, honors classes are given a 10% bonus in calculating GPA for determining final averages and class rank which are part of college applications. A grade of 73 with a 10% bonus is an 80 and there is quite difference between getting an F and getting a B in an honors level chem class.

        Regardless, all the while the district was stonewalling, my son was having to spent a great deal of time doing a crash course in Regents level Chemistry with a private tutor and going to classes at night and taking numerous practice exams. We had to give up a family vacation and my son did not take a summer job because of the time required to prepare for the exam.

        I first put the district on notice in May 2008 about the many problems in the way my son’s test was handled and graded. All that time the clock was ticking. My urgency was borne out of a desire to alleviate my son’s burden in spending well over 100 hours preparing for an exam he needed not have taken had the test been graded correctly. In response to that sense of urgency, Organisciak writes:

        Because of the many variables which, we expect, will be resolved over the next two to four weeks, I think it is premature to change the transcript at this point.

        The variables to which he refers are my son’s grade on the August 2008 Chemistry Regents Exam and the State’s decision on whether Question #65 was correct or incorrect.

        I cannot accurately describe the outrage I felt upon reading this portion of the letter. What he is saying is that he refuses to go recalculate my son’s grade for Chemistry Honors even though he acknowledges the grade was wrong because my son will be taking a test which may replace the current grade. Consider how the effort required to recalculate a grade based on the “new” information and then change the final grade on the transcript: 5 minutes. Instead, he would rather have my son spent every single day of the summer studying for a test he should not have had to take at all. This willingness to have my son pay the price for the district’s bad behavior is, for me, the most revolting aspect of this entire matter. It is why I believe that all those involved in this little conspiracy should he removed. They have no business being anywhere near school children. They are, in fact, evil personified starting with Organisciak.

        The irony of this statement is that on July 31, 2008, Organisciak states he was waiting for the results of a determination by the NYSED Department of Assessment. Those results were sent to Don Conetta, principal of New Rochelle High School four weeks later, on August 25, 2008. It is the letter which Organisciak has since repeatedly denied exists.

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