April 19, 2019

SAD 40 appeals fine for INS rule violations

WALDOBORO — SAD 40 directors will appeal a $21,205 fine imposed on the district by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for violations of federal employment laws, a board member said Tuesday.

The board voted unanimously Monday to appeal the fine, which the INS issued in July, claiming the district violated several federal employment laws, according to director Samuel Pennington of Waldoboro.

About $600 of the fine is attributed to the hiring of a Canadian educator to teach English at Medomak Valley High School when she did not have authorization to work in the United States.

Former Superintendent Roger Spugnardi was fired by the board May 18 for hiring Canadian Julie McNamee. He has appealed his dismissal to the state Department of Education. No hearing date has been set. Spugnardi is also suing the district for as much as $2.2 million in connection with his dismissal.

Most of the INS fine stemmed from the district’s failure to prepare and maintain required paperwork for each of its 130 employees. Employment eligibility verification forms must be completed by all employees regardless of national origin to prove authorization to work in this country.

The investigation into employment records by the INS was prompted by the controversy surrounding McNamee’s hiring. The hiring also led to an investigation of Spugnardi by the school district.

Gregory Smith, INS district director in the Portland office, has said that the appeal will go before an administrative law judge at a hearing where the district can argue against the penalty.

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