After Ithaca Superintendent Reverses Resignation, Some Have Questions
TOMPKINS COUNTY, NY (WSKG) - After saying he would resign, Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown announced this week he’s changed his mind.
The school board backed his actions, but parents and students have questions.
First, Brown announced his resignation on Jan. 12. He said he was taking job with the international education company, Discovery Education.
Then the Ithaca Voice published allegations made by advocates for Brown’s ex-wife to the Ithaca City School District Board of Education and the Interim Commissioner at the New York State Department of Education.
According to the allegations, Brown did not disclose an alleged romantic relationship with someone hired to be his administrative assistant, he tried to have the attorney for the school district block his ex-wife’s access to their children’s school records, and he involved teachers in arranging in-class FaceTime visits with his children using district devices or the teacher’s personal phone.
This week, Brown retracted his resignation during a live-streamed school board meeting.
Kelly Evans is the parent of a student in the school system. She’s one of hundreds of members of a Facebook group of parents and district employees. She has questions for the board about the allegations.
"The main thing is we are looking for transparency and a third-party investigation into allegations of the misconduct of the superintendent and the ICSD attorney and the Board of Education itself," Evans said.
There are now two letters to the school board from parents and teachers demanding transparency and questioning its the investigation.
Board of Education Chair Robert Ainslie said that the attorney for the district conducted an investigation and found nothing that related to the ICSD. He spoke during the recent live streamed meeting.
"It was investigated," he said. "The board did all due diligence and found there was - it was unwarranted.".
Ainslie specifically said that the school board was not going to consider allegations related to Brown's personal life and his divorce.
A representative for Discovery Education, the company that Brown was said to be joining would only provide a written statement. They wrote, “as a matter of policy, Discovery Education does not comment on personnel issues surrounding current or prospective employees.”
Evans said the last few weeks have been part of a shift that's been happening for a while.
"For several years, we have taken the superintendent's words and actions on good faith and we've supported him to be successful," she said. "But, there's been a lot of loss in confidence around him, around the board of education, around the integrity and judgement of both the board and the superintendent himself."
Evans wants the board to act immediately to answer parents concerns and questions.