Montclair School District Seeking Tuition From Ex-Principal
It's not yet clear whether Samantha Morra will return to Mount Hebron in the fall.
The Montclair School District is seeking back tuition from Samantha Morra, the former assistant principal at Mount Hebron Middle School, to cover the years her children attended school in Montclair, school board members confirmed Thursday.
"She will be receiving a letter if she hasn't received it already," said Leslie Larson, school board vice president.
Earlier this month, Morra, was removed from her $115,000-a-year position as assistant principal after she was accused of illegally enrolling her two children in Montclair schools while residing in neighboring Little Falls.
Morra—who used a Montclair mailing address although she paid taxes to Little Falls—was demoted to her tenured teaching position.
School district officials claim she owes as much as $75,000 but previously have not been sure as to whether the district would seek restitution.
Many Montclair residents and officials have expressed outrage that Morra was not terminated.
"I am outraged at what appears to be theft and I am outraged at that which appears to be conduct unbecoming," said Montclair Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renee Baskerville.
Morra told the school board that she received verbal permission to send her children to Montclair schools from former Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez, a claim he denies.
School board officials claim there is no proof that Alvarez or any member of the school board gave authorization to Morra.
Both Larson and School Board President Robin Kulwin confirmed that a request for the tuition money has gone out to Morra.
In general, those living outside the district caught sending their children to Montclair schools are sent letters requesting payment.
But usually it's hard to collect as many of those families provide fake addresses and can't be located.
If Morra fails to pay, the district could file a lawsuit against her, but such a move could be a long time coming.
In general, school board officials said there are legal processes that must be followed and negotiations that must be undertaken before a lawsuit is filed.
It's not yet clear whether Morra will return to a teaching position at Mount Hebron Middle School or elsewhere in the district next month.