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Jan 10, 2018 10:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School Board Approves Settlement With Administrator, But Won't Release Details

Denise Merchant resigned from her position as the director of special education at Southampton Schools.
Jan 10, 2018 11:22 AM

Southampton School District’s special education director resigned from her position with the district this week as part of a settlement agreement.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Education approved the settlement agreement with Denise Merchant, whose official title was director of pupil personnel services—but details of the settlement were not disclosed.

As part of that agreement, the board also approved Ms. Merchant’s general release, meaning she surrenders the right to sue or bring claims against the district.

Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Dyno declined to comment on Tuesday night about what led to the settlement, or how much money Ms. Merchant was awarded under the settlement. The Press has filed a request for the settlement terms under the Freedom of Information Law.

Ms. Merchant confirmed on Monday that she submitted her resignation, although she would not say what led to her decision or whether she was asked to leave the district.

In May 2016, Ms. Merchant was escorted out of the district administration building but continued to receive her six-figure salary during the five months she did not report to work. She even got a raise during that time, bumping her pay from $154,429 to $157,518 for the 2016-17 school year. She returned to her duties on October 17, 2016.

District officials never explained why Ms. Merchant was escorted out of the building, nor why she stopped reporting to work for a time.

According to the website www.seethroughny.net, Ms. Merchant’s most recent salary with the district was $168,428.

Multiple calls to Ms. Merchant’s attorney, Hempstead-based Frederick K. Brewington, seeking the terms of Ms. Merchant’s parting with the district and whether there was a payout involved were not returned.

Dr. Dyno said Wednesday that Ms. Merchant’s duties will be handled internally for the time being.

School officials have said little to explain the situation, citing it as a “personnel” matter that deserves confidentiality.

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You can forget every finding out what happened here. Not gonna happen.
By SlimeAlive (978), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 5:49 PM
If Frederick K. Brewington is her attorney, I can guarantee that a racial discrimination lawsuit is forthcoming. Watch and see ............
By HamptonDad (169), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 18 7:45 PM
That happened a while ago
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 7:51 PM
And we thought our tax dollars educated our kids...
By Draggerman (822), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 9:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Another administrator bites the dust and sis on the bench. How many is this now? Who was the first....Dan Burns? How many since?
By Gene10x (24), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 12:27 AM
Be smart. Get into the teaching business on Long Island if you want to get rich.
By lirider (243), Hampton Bays on Jan 10, 18 7:05 AM
These aren't teachers...these are administrators. Very few classroom teachers have had problems in Southampton, or the East End in general.
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 8:40 AM
Like Ryan McCreadyin Westhampton filming girls in the locker room? Principal Vetro in Hampton Bays making lewd calls? Ryan McCready Southampton heroin? Just to name a few... I should have said Education business though.
By lirider (243), Hampton Bays on Jan 12, 18 10:04 AM
Scam...details of this must become public.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (570), southampton on Jan 10, 18 10:00 AM
Need more money for the school to get rid of another employee. Now hire another one to replace her, yada yada yada... ONLY OUR MONEY...
By knitter (1483), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 10:22 AM
To pay employees to go away is one thing. Try paying your employees who do quality, over and above work on a daily basis. Recognition makes everybody happy.
By saywt01 (7), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 10:59 AM
Maybe the Special Education department (which she was head of) can start to do its job according to the rules & regulations, now that she has "resigned". Something hinky was going on with the service providers & billing is my guess.
By East End 2 (134), Southampton on Jan 10, 18 11:43 AM
Disgusting... surf bet she played all her cards. Hope it comes back to bite her in the ass
By bigblue84 (57), Hampton Bays on Jan 10, 18 6:47 PM
Sounds like she had the goods on them for escorting her out. Counselor played the race card and she walks with tax payer funds used to pay for the sins of our state.
By SlimeAlive (978), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 7:17 AM
The district used the same law firm that advised them to pay off Scott the homeless surfer. Perhaps a new law firm is warranted
By SlimeAlive (978), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 7:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
Another reason to combine school districts. There are 55 school districts in Suffolk. Should be broken up into 4 or 5. Complete waste of taxpayer money. It will never happen though. Teachers and administrators will fight because they will never give up a good thing that lines their pockets with taxpayer money and no accountability. They didn't even mention the benefits in the article. Bankrupting our property owners.
By The Real World (349), southampton on Jan 11, 18 7:30 AM
1 member liked this comment
Property taxes don't soar up over night....perhaps people buying properties should look into how much the property taxes are BEFORE they purchase and recognize that maybe they can't afford what they want. And BTW, our property taxes are relatively low if you live east of Brookhaven township.
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 8:05 AM
What planet do you live on? 78% of the tax bill goes to the schools. 55 administrators,55 superintendents, buying offices, staff, buildings...all on the taxpayers back. Its not the number its the percentage. Go back to your full benefit, taxpayer funded employment.
By The Real World (349), southampton on Jan 11, 18 9:34 AM
The issue isn't that our taxes is lower than Brookhaven why does that even matter? Our cost per student is 3 times what it is in Brookhaven. Something's got to change
By chief1 (2534), southampton on Jan 11, 18 10:34 AM
That's what happens when you have fewer students to divide the overall budget by....
By S'hamptonNative (78), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 11:58 AM
Why does the district need a "Director of Pupil Personnel Services"? Really? Spending spins out of control because of the lack of accountability to the taxpayer. Details of this must be made public. Then, the school board needs to explain what is being done to keep it from happening again.
By basic1 (9), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 7:52 PM