Two officials from soon-to-be-merged districts placed on administrative leave


OPPENHEIM, N.Y. (WKTV) - Two officials from two school districts that will soon be merging have both been placed on administrative leave.

According to a statement on the St. Johnsville School District's website, Elementary School Principal Christopher Fatta has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. St. Johnsville Superintendent Laura Campione is filling in as the elementary school principal until further notice.

At the same time, Oppenheim-Ephratah Superintendent Dan Rossum has also been placed on administrative leave, with Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel filling in until further notice.

The departures of Fatta and Rossum from active roles comes after a joint meeting between the St. Johnsville and Oppenheim School Districts.

"Further information regarding Mr. Fatta's status will be released if and when appropriate," the St. Johnsville Central School District website states.

When asked to elaborate Campione, who is filling in for Fatta's position, just said that it was "a personnel matter. We all make mistakes. This was a mistake that was made. It was made on school grounds."

Dr. Michel said he could not share any further details, but that the merger of Oppenheim-Ephratah and St. Johnsville is moving forward.

It will be up to the school boards to determine how much information is revealed once an investigation is complete, Dr. Michel said.

Dr. Michel says "Members of the Oppenheim-Ephratah Board feel strongly that the allegations made against Mr. Russom in no way should detract from his past accomplishments as an educator and administrator. However, the board also recognizes that his recent actions have compromised his ability to be an effective leader for our schools."

"It's been challenging because of the merger going on," said Laura Campione Lawrence, superintendent of St. Johnsville Central Schools. "Everything is going well. We have a transition plan in place. The childrens needs will continue to be met."

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