Friday, July 28, 2000

Teacher who said pupils cheated surprised by retirement letter

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A spokesman for the Columbus City Schools said no mistake was made when a teacher who said students cheated on the state proficiency tests got a letter congratulating her on her retirement.

        Andrew Marcelain said East gate teacher Barbara McCarroll, 59, is receiving disability benefits. The district's term for her employment status, “disability retirement,” meant her name was put on the list of retirees taken off the payroll.

        “When the school board approves the benefits, they tell us, and she has to come off our payroll as resigned, retired or fired,” Mr. Marcelain said. “She wasn't fired and she didn't resign, so she falls into the retirement category.” But Ms. McCarroll said Wednesday she thinks she's being punished.

        “I feel like I'm being picked out,” Ms. McCarroll said.

        Mr. Marcelain said the district realizes that Ms. McCarroll is not retiring, it just has to account for her being off the payroll, he said.

        Ms. McCarroll told Columbus school officials early this year that fifth-graders at Eastgate Elementary told her that a “tutor” gave them answers to the 1999 statewide proficiency test.

        After a two-week investigation, the state ruled that allegations couldn't be substantiated.


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