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Hempstead school board fires Julius Brown

Deputy Superintendent Julius Brown at the Hempstead School

Deputy Superintendent Julius Brown at the Hempstead School Board's first ever 'State of the School District' address at Hempstead High School in Hempstead. (Apr. 6, 2013) Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

The Hempstead school district board has dismissed Julius Brown, the deputy superintendent who last year admitted the district rounded up final course grades of 63 and 64 to a passing mark of 65.

Brown was fired after a 5-0 vote at the Jan. 16 school board meeting, according to trustee Shelley Brazley and other district officials with knowledge of the move.

"Mr. Brown was terminated," Brazley said Wednesday.

Attempts to reach school board president Betty Cross were unsuccessful. Brown did not respond to requests for comment. District spokesman Nathan Jackson and the district's attorney, Monte Chandler, declined to comment, citing the need to keep personnel matters private.

The school board in December 2012 voted to hire Brown as deputy superintendent until Dec. 31, 2016. Brown received compensation of $215,165 in 2013, according to the New York State Teachers Retirement System.

Brown, 60, of Baldwin, had worked for Hempstead Public Schools since 1978, including as assistant superintendent for personnel and principal of the Alverta B. Gray Schultz Middle School.

Brown had said before the grade-changing policy was rescinded by the school board in July that rounding up grades is standard in public schools. He said at the time that the practice had been designed to prevent confrontations among teachers, parents and students, and to give students a better chance of attending college.

The school board fired Carlos Ramirez, district director of technology, in July. Ramirez told state authorities in June that the 6,000-student district systematically rounded up some students' failing grades to passing scores. Ramirez filed a lawsuit in November claiming wrongful termination and violation of the state's whistle-blower protection law.

"It shows they do everything behind doors and there is no transparency," Maribel C. Touré, mother of a high school senior, said Wednesday, adding that she was not pleased with Brown's performance. "It's like nothing surprises us anymore from the board of education."

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