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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Principal Arisleyda Urena Leaves The Academy For Language and Technology After Conducting Unauthorized Raffles

Former Founding Principal of Academy for Language and Technology, Ms. Arisleyda Urena, Was Involved in Unsanctioned Raffles for Minors and the Misuse of a Department of Education-Issued Credit Card.

AP Jose Vinales (left) and Principal Arisleyda Urena (right)

Ms. Arisleyda Urena was engaged in conducting unauthorized raffles, with student participants, while she was the principal of the Academy for Language and Technology, in the Bronx (09X365).  In December 2011, and December 2012, Ms. Urena and Assistant Principal Jose Vinales hosted unsanctioned raffles for students.

Ms. Urena hired two educational consultants to help her with the day-to-day running of the school -- Dr. Rosamaria Leon is an F-status principal and Ms. Elena Papaliberios is the former Bronx Superintendent of High Schools (and Ms. Urena’s former supervisor).  Dr. Leon and Ms. Papaliberios were also aware of the unsanctioned raffles.  These raffles violated Chancellor’s Regulation A-660, the Regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board, New York General Municipal Law§195-a, and New York City Department of Education Standard Operating Procedures. 

While working as a teacher at the Academy for Language and Technology (ALT), a former teacher witnessed Ms. Urena and Mr. Vinales selling raffle tickets to students (who had not been banned from purchase for infractions) for fifty cents per ticket.  Students who were in good “academic standing,” had not been cutting class, and had not been suspended were eligible to buy tickets for the raffle.  Students bought tickets for the purpose of being able to win expensive sporting equipment and Apple electronics in raffles that took place in December 2011 and December 2012.

The occurrence of these raffles had not been shared with parents via letters or other communications from the school.

According to New York General Municipal Law § 195-a:

"No person under the age of eighteen years shall be permitted to play any game or games of chance conducted pursuant to any license issued under this article."

Ms. Urena had purchased these items for her 2011 and 2012 raffles using her Department of Education-issued credit card (known as a “Procurement Card” or “P-card”) in an inappropriate fashion.  In this video at the following URL -- -- from about 23 seconds to 4 minutes, 56 seconds, Ms. Urena, Mr. Vinales, and several teachers are raffling off at least twenty laptops, iPods, and tablets.

In this next video at the following URL -- -- commencing at about 6 minutes, 8 seconds, Ms. Urena is raffling off two very extravagant gift baskets.  According to the New York City Department of Education's Standard Operating Procedures §2.7.7:

"Only moderately priced incentives, with a market value of less than $25, may be given to students as part of an officially sanctioned incentive program such as dropout prevention, honor roll, attendance, etc. are permitted."

 Ms. Urena also permitted unsanctioned raffles at PTA/PA meetings to induce parents to attend.  In the past, she had raffled off electronics and Broadway tickets.  She had improperly purchased these items using her P-card in an inappropriate fashion.  See the attached Excel printout (obtained as a result of a Freedom of Information Law request) of the purchases on her P-card statements.

According to Chancellor's Regulation A-660 III(C)(2)(c):

"Any sale of raffle tickets must be done in compliance with the provisions of the New York State General Municipal Law, and  applicable regulations of the New York State Racing and Wagering Board."

(See page 33 at the above URL.)

Also, see:

 Ms. Urena resigned from her principal's position on November 1, 2013.  She now currently works in "Administrative Services" at 131 Livingston St., Brooklyn, NY.  She is  under investigation by the Office of Special Investigations for misappropriation of school funding.  Jose Vinales is currently the Interim Acting (I.A.) Principal of the Academy for Language and Technology.

P-card 2007-2012