Three months after the Woodbridge School District suspended five educators based on the results of a state investigation into standardized test cheating, one of the suspended principals wants to clear her name.
Attorneys for Dara Kurlander, who was principal at Avenel Street Schools #4 & #5, want to see the confidential files upon which the NJ Office of Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) based their report on the cheating scandal that rocked the township in August.
Kurlander's attorneys announced they have filed a petition with the Superior Court of New Jersey to gain access to OFAC's investigatory files, which includes interviews with subjects who say they observed the cheating and Kurlander's role in it.
The interviews have so far been confidential and the names of subjects haven't been revealed.
“It would seem only fair that given the fact the OFAC report was based almost entirely on uncorroborated, anonymous, and what we believe to be outright fictitious sources that Ms. Kurlander have a chance to clear her name. To that end, we are seeking the entire investigative file related to this matter including all statements, in their original forms ,taken by investigators so that we can truly examine how the OFAC report was compiled,” said Lisa Krenkel, one of Kurlander's attorneys, in a statement.
The Woodbridge Board of Education, too, wants to see the OFAC files. In late September, the board passed a resolution to subpoena the same information Kurlander's attorneys want to see.
So far, though, they haven't gotten any of the confidential information, said Woodbridge BOE Attorney Jonathan Busch.
"The board believes it would be helpful to see the OFAC record.We tried to get them, and so far we haven't gotten anything," Busch said. "At some point we expect to review the investigatory records."
Kurlander was suspended with pay after an investigation that began when Avenel Street School's test scores were flagged for having a high number of wrong-to-right erasures on NJ ASK standardized tests. Kurlander had been transferred to Woodbine School just days before the Board of Education announced in August that she and four other educators in the district were being suspended.
The scandal resulted in the removal of Woodbridge School Superintendent John Crowe as head of the district, who will leave his post December 1 and be reassigned as a school principal.