Lana Bellamy Times Herald-Record

CITY OF NEWBURGH — State Sen. James Skoufis said the state Education Department commissioner admitted her office mishandled complaints about the Newburgh school district that ultimately led to an investigation by the Orange County District Attorney.

“There was an acknowledgment that the ball was dropped,” Skoufis said Wednesday when recalling his recent phone call with Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

Skoufis told the Times Herald-Record on April 5 that he sought out Elia following the release of an Orange County grand jury report that contains findings indicating school staff in Newburgh tampered with athletes’ attendance records and grades for years.

The report did not find criminal wrongdoing by the school district. District Attorney David Hoovler said the grand jury instead found widespread “systemic failure”

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