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Date: Mon, 13 Jul 2015 12:02:14 -0400

Subject: Highly Important: Breach of Confidential Information


From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org>
To: Kip Fonsh <FonshK@ARPS.ORG>, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG>, Katherine
Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG>, Kathleen Traphagen <TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG>, Vira
Douangmany <douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG>, Stephen Sullivan <SullivanS@ARPS.ORG>, Rick
Hood <HoodR@ARPS.ORG>, Daniel Robb <RobbD@ARPS.ORG>, Phoebe Hazzard
<hazzardp@ARPS.ORG>
Cc: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG>, Kathryn Mazur
<mazurk@arps.org>, Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG>
Dear School Committee Members,
Please know that emails that I send to School Committee members often include confidential
information. That is especially true for any email that involves information regarding legal
matters. A section of my email response to Vira (sent on 7/10 to Vira and copied to the full
school committee) was released and posted on a blog. This is highly problematic and puts the
district at legal risk. While school committee correspondence falls under public records there are
exceptions to what can be released, which is why protocols are in place to have district staff
handle all public records requests. Anytime emails are requested that contain confidential
information, as this one did, they are reviewed and redacted prior to releasing them, as required
by law. If this email was requested by a journalist, the correct procedure was to submit that
request to the district, via Debbie Westmoreland. While this particular settlement agreement did
not contain a confidentiality clause, information regarding negotiations and mediation is always
confidential. While it is acceptable for me to answer questions for SC members regarding these
aspects of the process, this information cannot be shared with anyone else. Ms. Gardner's
attorney contacted our attorney regarding this breach of information. Our attorney has asked
that you all be warned about the confidential nature of mediation so that no additional
information about the mediation process is released.
I hope this clarifies the process and procedure around public records and I am happy to answer
any further questions.
Maria

Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:13:01 -0400


Subject:
From: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org>
To: Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG>, Daniel Robb <robbd@arps.org>, Rick Hood
<HoodR@ARPS.ORG>, Kathleen Traphagen <TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG>, Stephen Sullivan
<SullivanS@ARPS.ORG>, Phoebe Hazzard <hazzardp@ARPS.ORG>, Kip Fonsh

<FonshK@ARPS.ORG>, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG>, Vira Douangmany


<douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG>
Cc: Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org>, Michael Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG>,
Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@ARPS.ORG>
Dear Vira,
The report created by Sean showed legal costs and settlement/separation costs for our districts.
These costs are shown for school committee, human resources, and special education needs.
Settlements pertaining to student needs are typically reflected through special education lines.
Personnel settlements are not often reflected in a specific line because the costs are often paid
through payroll, not accounts payable. Student related settlements include confidentiality
requirements. The district includes confidentiality statements in settlement/separation
agreements routinely.
Therefore, both student and personnel settlements are not released to anyone, including the
school committee. There are public record requests, at times, to release settlement information
pertaining to personnel. We then create a report which includes financial information without any
detail. This information has been shared with school committee members when it has been
released. I can ask Sean/Kathy to pull up this report from last year if you would like to review
this information.
Regarding this specific MCAD complaint and the subsequent mediation and settlement. The
School Committee was involved in this discussion at all stages because we were unsure that
the budget would be able to manage final settlement amount. Therefore, the school committee
was involved because the SC may have needed a vote to allocate funds from a special
contingency line in the budget. The school committee discussed the issue of mediation with the
attorney and gave input prior to the mediation. Trevor, as chair, fully participated in the
mediation on behalf of the school committee. At that time, we froze the budget to address the
settlement so that we could address the cost within the budget, and avoid a public SC vote
allocating funds to Ms. Gardner. Once the settlement was finalized, the SC was notified of the
next step which was release of a public statement. While we did not believe that a public
statement was in the best interest of Ms.
Gardner or the District, this was a non-negotiable point for Ms. Gardner. Also, this settlement
must be released because it does not contain a confidentiality statement. We always include
confidentiality statements because it is protective of the staff member. The deletion of the
confidentiality statement was at the request of Ms. Gardner. Again, we do not agree with
releasing information about separation/settlement agreements primarily because we see this as
confidential personnel records. Our union leadership and MTA leadership has been fully
supportive of this practice and has stood beside us on this issue.
In terms of the superintendent evaluation, I would greatly appreciate a more timely process.
Unfortunately the Regional Committee did not vote the goals until late November which pushed

the process back (Amherst and Pelham voted earlier). I don't see the process as rushed, but
rather drawn out. I did submit an email to the SC chairs asking for clarification on who should
complete the evaluation. Historically, we have members who have been on the committee the
whole year complete the evaluation, even if they have stepped down, and new members do not
complete it. Given this was a topic of conversation with the chairs, we sought clarification with
the DESE. They remain silent on past members, and therefore we sent the information out to
current members. I then asked the chairs to tell me if they would like prior members to complete
that as well. I still have not heard from the Regional Chair,however based on feedback from
those who responded, we sent the link out to the prior members as well. I would welcome a
more formal process with the members prior to the start of this next evaluation cycle.
I hope this addresses your concerns.
Best,
Maria
Dear Superintendent,
In light of the public announcement of a recent settlement agreement with Carolyn Gardner, I
would like to draw our committee's attention to a March 31st report regarding legal settlements
prepared by Sean Mangano (see attached pdf).
I hope you'll be able to get us an updated report reflecting the agreement between the district
and Gardner. Please include the various categories agreements and settlements are captured
and paid out (payroll, insurance, etc.).
To my fellow SC members--I have never felt more detached from background and information
regarding the district I represent. The pervasive strategy of not engaging and involving the
collective body of SC must stop. If you were asked by media about what was happening in your
own home and you didn't know, that isn't good.
Moving forward, I'd like suggest an agenda item to discuss dedicating adequate opportunity to
exchange ideas, thoughts, and vision for what we are charged to do and the things that should
take lower priority and airtime. For example, how did it happen that Superintendent's evaluation
got away from us (in its late and rushed nature that we are expected to turn it around) and a
disregard for my right to have a say in the matter.
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018

To: Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org>


Cc: Vira Douangmany <douangmanyv@arps.org>, Trevor Baptiste <baptistet@arps.org>,

Katherine Appy <katherineappy@gmail.com>, Kip Fonsh <fonshk@arps.org>, Daniel Robb


<robbd@arps.org>,Stephen Sullivan <sullivans@arps.org>, Phoebe Hazzard
<hazzardp@arps.org>, Rick Hood <hoodr@arps.org>, Maria Geryk <GerykM@arps.org>
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 12:02:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Carolyn Gardner
From: Kathleen Traphagen <traphagenk@arps.org>
hi - is it absolutely legally required to release this at noon today? That is an FOIA requirement?
On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 11:53 AM, Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org> wrote:
I have not heard from Chair Baptiste about this matter, and I respect your desire to address this
as a body. However, it is out of my hands at this point, and the document must be released for
the reasons I stated earlier. Over the course of the past month and prior to reaching an
agreement in the spring, Maria and I raised many times that the agreement should contain a
confidentiality clause as our other settlement agreements contain. This was not desired by Ms.
Gardner and her attorneys and a settlement would not have occurred with such a statement.
Most recently and prior to the release of the press statement two days ago, I asked our attorney
(David Monastersky) on 3 separate occasions to make sure Ms.Gardner and her team still
wanted this statement released, which Maria and I knew would generate great negative
attention. It was conveyed to me that the statement should be released as written and as part
of the settlement agreement.
On Jul 10, 2015, at 9:12 AM, Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org> wrote:
Dear Regional School Committee members:
Because there is no confidentiality agreement contained within the executed Agreement with
Ms. Gardner and there are multiple Freedom of Information requests for this document at this
time, I will release the Agreement to the press at noon today. Out of courtesy to the
membership of the Regional School Committee and the Amherst Select Board, who should
have an opportunity to read the document before receiving calls from the press, please do not
release this document before it is released by the district. As well, the district's attorney for this
matter, David Monastersky, will be calling Ms. Gardner's attorneys this morning to let them know
of the release of the document so they (and Ms. Gardner) are prepared to respond if they
choose to do so. Thank you.
In terms of the financial settlement of $180,000, $90K was paid by our insurer (Trident
Insurance), $60K was paid by the district to Ms. Gardner's legal counsel, and $30K was paid to
Ms. Gardner through our payroll system.
Please give me a call if you have any questions.

Kathryn Mazur
Director of Human Resources and Operations
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
413.362.1803 mazurk@arps.org

Subject: Fwd: Please send this press release to the RSC


From: Debbie Westmoreland <westmorelandd@arps.org>
To: Daniel Robb <RobbD@ARPS.ORG>, Katherine Appy <AppyK@ARPS.ORG>, Kathleen
Traphagen <TraphagenK@ARPS.ORG>, Kip Fonsh <FonshK@ARPS.ORG>, Phoebe Hazzard
<hazzardp@ARPS.ORG>, Rick Hood <HoodR@ARPS.ORG>, Stephen Sullivan
<SullivanS@ARPS.ORG>, Trevor Baptiste <BaptisteT@ARPS.ORG>, Vira Douangmany
<douangmanyv@ARPS.ORG>
Cc: Maria Geryk <GerykM@ARPS.ORG>, Kathryn Mazur <MazurK@ARPS.ORG>, Michael
Morris <MorrisM@ARPS.ORG>

Dear School Committee Members:


Kathy Mazur asked me to forward the message below.
Deb
---------- Forwarded message ---------From: Kathryn Mazur <mazurk@arps.org>
Date: Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 3:18 PM
Subject: Please send this press release to the RSC
To: Debbie Westmoreland <WestmorelandD@arps.org>
As a component of the settlement agreement with Ms. Gardner, it was mutually agreed that the
District would issue a statement (press release) about the matter. The statement below will be
sent to the Daily Hampshire Gazette and to the Republication by the end of this week.
Certainly, I wanted you all to know about this release. If contacted by the press to make a
statement after it is published, Maria Geryk has decided at this time that she will have no
comment out of respect for Ms. Gardner. You may or may not be contacted by the press to
make a statement.
The Amherst-Pelham Regional School District and Ms. Carolyn Gardner have reached a
resolution concerning her work experience in our High School and as a Regional employee
during the 2013-2014 school year. Ms. Gardner is recognized as a dedicated and professional
Teacher of Mathematics who provided exemplary instruction to our students. During the course

of her employment here in Amherst, Ms. Gardner was subjected to harassing and hurtful events
and notes. No person should be subjected to any type of harassment or racism, in any work
place or community. It is our sincere hope that this settlement will serve to permit Ms. Gardner
to put what occurred here in our community behind her, and we wish her all the best as she
continues her professional career.
-Kathryn Mazur
Director of Human Resources and Operations
Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
413.362.1803 mazurk@arps.org
-Debbie Westmoreland
Assistant to the Superintendent
170 Chestnut Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 362-1823
From: douangmanyv@arps.org
Subject: Fwd: Superintendent's Weekly Update
Date: Fri, 10 Jul 2015 09:03:35 -0400
To: Maria Geryk <gerykm@arps.org>
Dear Superintendent,
In light of the public announcement of a recent settlement agreement with Carolyn Gardner, I
would like to draw our committee's attention to a March 31st report regarding legal settlements
prepared by Sean Mangano (see attached pdf).
I hope you'll be able to get us an updated report reflecting the agreement between the district
and Gardner. Please include the various categories agreements and settlements are captured
and paid out (payroll, insurance, etc.).
To my fellow SC members--I have never felt more detached from background and information
regarding the district I represent. The pervasive strategy of not engaging and involving the
collective body of SC must stop. If you were asked by media about what was happening in your
own home and you didn't know,that isn't good.
Moving forward, I'd like suggest an agenda item to discuss dedicating adequate opportunity to
exchange ideas, thoughts, and vision for what we are charged to do and the things that should
take lower priority and airtime. For example, how did it happen that Superintendent's evaluation

got away from us (in its late and rushed nature that we are expected to turn it around) and a
disregard for my right to have a say in the matter.
Vira Douangmany Cage
Amherst School Committee
Term 2015-2018
cell:413.461.6386