HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — Kirk Ashton, the Hilton elementary school principal accused of abusing more than 30 students, has resigned.

Ashton pleaded not guilty to 25 charges in April. More families have taken legal action against him since then.

According to the Hilton Central School District, the board of education approved the separation agreement Tuesday. As part of the agreement, Ashton will be paid 5 months salary along with the amount of his accrued vacation and sick time.

The district says, under New York State Education Law, Ashton could not be fired without a formal disciplinary hearing. It says district officials chose not to pursue that option because it would have required students to testify.

At its September 14, 2021 meeting, the Hilton Central School District Board of Education approved a separation agreement to secure the resignation of Kirk Ashton.  The agreement includes payments to Mr. Ashton in the amount of his accrued vacation, sick days, and five months of salary.   Neither Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek nor the Board of Education took the decision to enter into an agreement involving Mr. Ashton lightly.  Unfortunately, despite the multiple criminal charges pending against him, Mr. Ashton maintained his tenure rights under the New York Education Law.  This guaranteed him continued pay until he could be terminated on disciplinary charges through a formal proceeding held before a hearing officer.  Because this would have necessarily involved student testimony, it would have been inappropriate for the District to move forward on such charges prior to the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, which will likely continue well into the future.  Thus, the Board determined that agreeing to a finite amount to Mr. Ashton and formally ending his District employment immediately was the better course of action.

As with other actions the Hilton School District has taken since April, this is another step on the District’s path to recovery. 

Grace Scism, Hilton Central School District Director of Communications

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.