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Decision No. 16,562

 

 Appeal of HAKIM JONES from action of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District, the Board of Education of the Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District, Superintendent Daniel

A. Teplesky and Karen Miller regarding tenure.

Decision No. 15,562

(October 4, 2013)

School Administrators Association of New York State,

attorneys for petitioner, A. Andre Dalbec, Esq., of

counsel

Shaw, Perelson, May & Lambert, LLP, attorneys for respondent, David S. Shaw, Esq., of counsel

KING, JR., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals the determination of the Board of Education of the Ravena­ Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District ("respondent board” or “board”) to assign him to the central district office as an “Administrator on Special Assignment.” The appeal must be dismissed.

On October 25, 2004, respondent board appointed petitioner as a high school principal, effective November8, 2004. Petitioner served as high school principal from November 8, 2004 to September 2006. Petitioner then served as high school principal for grades 11 and 12 from September 2006 through June 30, 2009. In or about May 2007,respondent board granted petitioner tenure, apparently effective July 1, 2007.1 On March 2, 2009, respondent board assigned petitioner to serve as an elementary school principal, effective July 1, 2009.

On September 3, 2010, petitioner was placed on administrative leave. On September 21, 2010, the board

1 Petitioner and respondent board dispute the exact tenure area in which petitioner was appointed and earned tenure. Petitioner asserts that he served in the tenure area of “Building Administrator,” while respondent board maintains that he served in the general “Administrator” tenure area. For purposes of this appeal, however, the dispute need not be resolved.

voted to commence disciplinary proceedings against petitioner pursuant to Education Law §3020-a (“§3020-a proceedings”). That same day, respondent board assigned petitioner to the central district office in the position of “Principal on Special Assignment.”2 By letter dated October 1, 2010, the superintendent directed petitioner to report to the district office on October 4, 2010. This appeal ensued. Petitioner’s request for interim relief was denied on November 5, 2010.

Petitioner alleges that respondent board assigned him to duties outside his tenure area without his prior written consent, in violation of §30-1.9 of the Rules of the Board of Regents. Specifically, he alleges that the special assignment consists of duties performed by a content specialist – a title represented by the teachers’ bargaining unit - and includes completing BEDS data and creating teacher reports using databases, duties that he alleges are outside of his administrative tenure area. Petitioner further alleges that respondent board’s unilateral imposition of work hours and a lunch period, exclusion from administrative meetings and banishment to a work location in an entry-way that also served as a lunch room and mail room, constitutes a form of discipline in violation of Education Law §§3012, 3020 and 3020-a. Petitioner seeks rescission of respondent board’s actions and reinstatement to the position of elementary principal at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School. He also requests an order directing respondents to cease and desist assigning petitioner duties outside his tenure area.

Respondents maintain that petitioner has failed to meet his burden of establishing a clear legal right to the relief requested. Specifically, respondents assert that the duties assigned to petitioner in the central office are within his tenure area and that, even if they were not, such duties may properly be assigned during the pendency of §3020-a proceedings. Respondents further argue that §30­

1.9 of the Regents Rules does not apply here because Part 30 of the Regents Rules does not apply to administrators.

2 Although the minutes of respondent board’s September 21, 2010 meeting reflect the assignment as “Principal on Special Assignment,” the superintendent’s October 1, 2010 letter to petitioner refers to the assignment as “Administrator on Special Assignment.”

To the extent that petitioner seeks the rescission of respondent board’s actions and reinstatement to his elementary principal position, the appeal is moot. In response to direction from my Office of Counsel, the parties submitted documentation indicating that, upon conclusion of the §3020-a proceedings, petitioner was returned to his position as an elementary school principal at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School. The Commissioner will only decide matters in actual controversy and will not render a decision on a state of facts which no longer exist or which subsequent events have laid to rest (Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 532, Decision No.15,940; Appeal of M.M., 48 id. 527, Decision No. 15,937;Appeal of Embro, 48 id. 204, Decision No. 15,836). As noted, both parties state that petitioner returned to his prior elementary principal position upon settlement of the§3020-a proceedings.3 Therefore, petitioner’s request for rein statement is academic.

Similarly, to the extent that petitioner requests an order directing respondents to cease and desist assigning him duties outside his tenure area, the matter is also moot. Since petitioner has been reinstated to his prior position as elementary school principal, there is no live controversy, and it is well settled that I do not issue advisory opinions or declaratory rulings in an appeal pursuant to Education Law §310 (Appeal of a Student with a Disability, 48 Ed Dept Rep 411, Decision No. 15,899; Appeal of Waechter, 48 id. 261, Decision No. 15,853).4

THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED. END OF FILE

3 Petitioner’s attorney asserts in his affirmation that petitioner was returned to his position as an elementary school principal on January2, 2012 and that he has continued in his position since that date.4 While the affirmation submitted by Margo L. May on May 14, 2013 asserts that petitioner’s seniority rights during the pendency of the§3020-a proceeding must be resolved, the petition before me does not contain any allegations regarding seniority. Consequently, respondent is requesting an advisory opinion.