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State sanctions several involved in Glen Cove cheating scandals

Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove on April

Landing Elementary School in Glen Cove on April 12, 2013. Credit: Steve Pfost

State education officials said Monday one person lost "certificates" and several others were fined in connection with cheating at the Glen Cove School District.

Also Monday, the Glen Cove school board voted not to renew the contract of a guidance chairman, who sources said was a whistle-blower in one of the cheating incidents.

It was unclear Monday which of two scandals the disciplined employees were tied to.

"The state is concluding its investigation into the various allegations of testing improprieties at the Glen Cove Central School District," state education spokesman Jonathan Burman said. "Our investigation and enforcement has resulted in the surrender of one individual's certificates and the payment of fines by other individuals. We do not intend to pursue further disciplinary action at this time."

One incident involved fifth-grade math and English language arts tests administered at Connolly and Landing elementary schools in the spring of 2012.

Several teachers there were accused of supplying students with correct answers, darkening answer forms for them and urging them to reconsider their responses.

The other involved grade fixing on the 2012 Regents exams at the high school level. Sources close to that case said the probe involves at least two administrators -- a principal and an assistant principal.

Several students spoke out on behalf of Michael Tweed, the guidance chairman said to be the whistle-blower, telling board members he was critical in their success, particularly in helping with their college applications.

Samantha DiPaola, 17, who recently was accepted to Georgetown, said Tweed "was a great support for us," explaining he had an open-door policy that benefited all students.

Superintendent Maria Rianna said she would not comment, citing privacy concerns.

Tweed had no comment about the matter and referred calls to his attorney, who did not return calls or emails.

The Nassau County district attorney's office is investigating both cases.

"We will review the dispositions that the school district and the SED [state Education Department] decide upon, and if any dispositions are not satisfactory to us and we feel that criminal charges are warranted, we continue to reserve the right to follow that course," Shams Tarek, a spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said in an email. "As of yet, however, no dispositions have been reported to us."

State officials have said that if the elementary school allegations prove true, the exams could be invalidated and educators could face further punishment.

They also said that disciplinary proceedings could result in "a range of penalties or outcomes," including "formal reprimand, counseling or medical treatment, fine, suspension of employment without pay or termination."

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