It's been four years since Laura Vieira-Suarez worked as a school principal. Vieira-Suarez was re-assigned to Syracuse School District headquarters in 2008 after an audit at Fowler High School raised several issues involving money. The internal audit says Vieira-Suarez was reimbursed twice for a trip, double billed the district for a pizza party, and had numerous checks made out to her personal credit card. The New York State Comptroller's office and the Onondaga County District Attorney's office investigated the accusations, but no charges have been filed.
On Wednesday night, Syracuse School Superintendent Sharon Contreras announced that Laura Vieira-Suarez would take over as principal of LeMoyne Elementary on the Syracuse's north side this fall. Many parents that we spoke with were not happy with the news.
"I'm just stunned. there's a low budget in the school district now and for someone like that with a history of her finance situation, it's just shocking to me," said parent Hannah Kadrmas. "I don't think she should be working in the school district at all." Even residents who were not familiar with the current story knew of Vieira-Suarez's past troubles and were surprised by the school district's decision.
The school district refused a request to interview Superintendent Sharon Contreras about Laura Vieira-Suarez's new position and what role she would have with the school's finances. The districts' only comment came in a statement e-mailed to CNY Central. In the statement Superintendent Sharon Contreras calls Vieira-Suarez an "experienced principal with the skills and abilities to successfully lead LeMoyne Elementary School." She added "I am confident that she (Vieira-Suarez) will succeed."
LeMoyne Elementary parents, who are known to be very active and involved at the school, want to avoid another scandal. "Maybe more thought should have been put into it before they would actually put her in there," Megan Kazimer, who is a parent of a LeMoyne student. "I mean who's to say what she won't do."
Some parents said that they hope Superintendent Sharon Contreras would be willing to meet with them to talk about Vieira-Suarez's role and what oversight she would have.