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FOIL Reveals Teacher Settlement

A tenured teacher at Southwestern Central School, accused of misconduct, insubordination and neglect of duty, reached a settlement agreement with the school district withdrawing the charges, and will remain an employee through the 2019-20 school year.

Millissa Albano, a 7-12 science teacher with almost 20 years of service, will continue her employment with the district, but not on a classroom teaching assignment, according to the settlement agreement approved by the Southwestern School Board at its June 25 regular meeting.

The agreement and documentation of the 3020-a charges were obtained by The Post-Journal on Tuesday following a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request submitted to the school district on June 25.

Charges of misconduct/conduct unbecoming of a teacher, insubordination and neglect of duty were affirmed by the board of education March 26 to pursue the termination of Albano’s employment.

The school district did not elaborate what led to the charges because “they are considered inter-agency materials,” the district said in a letter to The Post-Journal. However, Albano denied the allegations affirmed by the board.

The district and Albano later agreed to resolve the matter through “mutually agreed terms rather than continuing the formal proceedings under the New York Education Law Section 3020-a,” the agreement reads.

Albano agreed to submit a voluntary resignation letter effective July 1, 2020. Furthermore, she agreed to refrain from instituting any grievance, suit or action against the district following the agreement.

Albano’s resignation was approved by the board during Tuesday’s meeting “with sincere thanks and appreciation for almost twenty years of dedicated service,” the resolution read.

Maureen Donahue, Southwestern superintendent, said she could not comment on specifics of a “personnel matter” following Tuesday’s meeting.

The school district agreed to “withdraw with prejudice the pending disciplinary charges” submitted to the state Education department and notify SED of its withdrawal of charges by uploading a copy of the settlement agreement to a state database.

Albano will maintain her eligibility to participate in the district’s retiree health insurance plan in accordance with Southwestern’s collective bargaining agreement.

Albano’s return to work in the 2019-20 school year will include tasks as requested by the Southwestern superintendent “for the purpose of supporting and or facilitating curriculum development or other such work,” the agreement reads.

The agreement indicates that in order to receive service credit as it relates to the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System for the 2019-20 school year, Albano must remain in working status “performing duties of a teacher, and not on administrative leave.”

Albano will conduct work compliant with the same terms and conditions of her current salary, benefits and area of certifications. According to seethroughny.net, Albano earned $77,569 for the 2017-18 school year.

Albano was named a certified master teacher under the New York State Master Teacher Program in October 2018.

She began as a teacher in 1991.

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