Decision No. 18,089
Appeal of LENISSA BYRNE from action of the Board of Education of the South Glens Falls Central School District regarding a board meeting.
Decision No. 18,089
(February 15, 2022)
Girvin & Ferlazzo, P.C., attorneys for respondent, Kristine Amodeo Lanchantin, Esq., of counsel
ROSA., Commissioner.--Petitioner appeals from action of the Board of Education of the South Glens Falls Central School District (“respondent”) concerning a board meeting. The appeal must be dismissed.
Petitioner is a resident of respondent’s district. She contends that respondent provided insufficient notice that an October 18, 2021 board meeting would be conducted virtually. She further alleges that the members of the public were not able to comment during this meeting. Petitioner seeks a recognition “in the public record” that respondent violated the Open Meetings Law (“OML”), as well as a commitment from each board member that they will not violate the OML (and agree to resign if they do).
Respondent argues that the appeal must be dismissed for failure to join a necessary party and for lack of jurisdiction. On the merits, respondent argues that petitioner has failed to demonstrate a clear legal right to the relief requested.
The appeal must be dismissed, in part, for lack of jurisdiction. Public Officers Law § 107 vests exclusive jurisdiction over alleged violations of the OML in the Supreme Court of the State of New York (Appeal of Flippen, 57 Ed Dept Rep, Decision No. 17,296; Appeal of McColgan and El-Rez, 48 id. 493, Decision No. 15,928). Therefore, such allegations may not be adjudicated in an appeal pursuant to Education Law § 310.
Petitioner also challenges her inability to comment during the October 18 meeting. While school board meetings must be open to the public (Education Law § 1708 (3); Public Officers Law § 103), there is no statutory or regulatory requirement that school boards allow members of the public to speak at school board meetings (Appeal of Kushner, 49 Ed Dept Rep 263, Decision No. 16,020; Appeal of Michalski, 33 id. 505, Decision No. 13,130; Appeal of Wittneben, 31 id. 375, Decision No. 12,671). Moreover, petitioner does not allege that respondent has adopted a local policy imposing such a requirement (see Appeal of Kushner, 49 Ed Dept Rep 263, Decision No. 16,020). As such, she has failed to meet her burden of proving that she had a legal right to comment during the October 18 meeting.
In light of this decision, I need not address the parties’ remaining contentions, including respondent’s procedural contentions.
THE APPEAL IS DISMISSED.
END OF FILE
 To the extent it does not do so, I encourage respondent to allow its residents to participate in its meetings (Appeal of Wittneben, 31 id. 375, Decision No. 12,671).