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Hempstead schools looking for new district treasurer

The Hempstead school district is searching for a new treasurer after the woman who held the position for a decade was removed from that post last month.

Luz Valentin remains at the district as an accountant. School officials would not say why they ordered the change.

The school board, on its notice of a special meeting scheduled Tuesday, listed interview of candidates for the treasurer's position as a subject.

Valentin, in a phone interview Monday, said she joined the district 11 years ago as an accountant and had served as treasurer for 10 years and two months.

She said she is a certified public accountant and highly qualified, with many years of experience in private industry. She did not know why she is being replaced, she said, adding that she has "a wide variety of experience."

The district also is looking for a new superintendent. Schools chief Susan Johnson, whose contract runs through June 30, 2016, may apply for the position, board president Lamont Johnson has said. He did not return calls Monday. The superintendent and the board president are not related.

The Hempstead system -- which in recent months has had an influx of hundreds of pupils, many of them from Central America -- is under state scrutiny for turning away scores of immigrant children, denying them an education until two months into this school year. Last week, Lamont Johnson said the district had submitted a required corrective plan to the state Education Department.

The district also is the subject of an audit by the state comptroller's office.

Brian Butry, a spokesman for Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, said those findings will be released by the end of the month. The examination is part of the comptroller's pledge to audit every school district in the state, after administrators in Roslyn were accused of stealing millions of dollars from their system, ending in 2002.

Butry said the office started the Hempstead audit in the spring and that it takes six to nine months to complete such an inquiry.

Asked for a preview, he said, "I cannot share the findings."

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