Crime pays? High school principal removed for fraud scores $1.8m desk job instead

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A principal at Maspeth High School in Queens named Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir was removed from his position in July 2021 for employing fraudulent schemes to pad the school’s graduation rate and will now shockingly receive a $1.8 million desk job instead.

Abdul-Mutakabbir will never again be permitted to work with students and cannot return to any city as a principal following his dishonest actions, but that does not preclude him from getting a big fat payday reportedly due to a settlement with the Department of Education (ED), according to the New York Post.

The principal allegedly mocked up fake classes, gave credits to failing students, and fixed grades so students could graduate, according to the Special Commissioner of Investigations for city schools

City investigators recommended that Abdul-Mutakabbir be fired but the Department of Education decided to settle on Jan. 25 by fining the disgraced principal $12,000 and then parking him behind a desk for seven years while he gets paid an outrageous sum.

The deal was allegedly kept hidden for months by the ED. The disgraced principal is now 47 and will sit in an office until he retires on Nov. 30, 2029. During that time he will draw $187,043 in annual salary and will get all union-negotiated pay raises for principals. He will also get paid holidays and vacations, as well as full health and retirement benefits. Those perks will tally up to at least $78,558 per year on top of his salary. By the time it’s all said and done, Abdul-Mutakabbir will rake in $1.8 million for doing pretty much nothing for seven years.

City Councilman Robert Holden (D-Queens) is outraged over the sweetheart deal. He was the one who first nailed the principal for cheating after a group of whistleblower teachers came forward three years ago.

“Nothing is more absurd in city government than rewarding dishonesty and cheating,” Holden declared, calling the deal a huge waste of taxpayer funds.

According to a report by investigators completed in June, Abdul-Mutakabbir pressured teachers to pass students whether they had earned it or not.

“I don’t care if a kid shows up at 7:44 and you dismiss at 7:45 — it’s your job to give that kid credit,” Abdul-Mutakabbir allegedly told a staffer. He told the teacher to give the student a diploma “not worth the paper on which it was printed” and let him “have fun working at Taco Bell,” the report says, according to the New York Post.

Faculty and students reportedly called the mandate by the principal the “Maspeth Minimum” because everyone and anyone would pass and graduate, according to the newspaper. Administrators also pressured teachers to fix failing grades. Some teachers actually gave students answers during state Regents exams, according to records.

The principal and two assistant principals allegedly rewarded “a clique” of staffers and ex-fraternity brothers with overtime assignments, the Special Commissioner of Investigations reported. Others were warned to “fall in line” or get bad reviews that could jeopardize their jobs. Some teachers were even forced to quit.

All of that intimidation resulted in a 99 percent graduation rate and won the school a federal “Blue Ribbon Award” in 2018.

Abdul-Mutakabbir and assistant principals Stefan Singh and Jesse Pachter refused to speak with SCI investigators, citing their right to remain silent. For that non-cooperation, they received letters of reprimand.

“Here’s the message [the department] is sending: ‘If you clam up, if you cover up, you can keep your job and keep your paycheck,’” Holden claimed. “Good teachers were driven out, children were robbed of their education. This was organized crime, in my estimation.”

A Queens teacher at a neighboring school was incensed over the settlement and told the New York Post, “The idea that Abdul-Mutakabbir has guaranteed raises and benefits until 2029 all while doing little to nothing compared to his colleagues is unacceptable. ‘Cheat, bend the rules and be rewarded’ should be the DOE motto.”


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