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Decision No. 12,558

Appeal of ESTHER WALKER against Edith Bly Jenkins as a principal for the New York City Board of Education regarding an unsatisfactory teaching rating.

Decision No. 12,558

(August 5, 1991)

Hon. Victor A. Kovner, Corporation Counsel, attorney for respondent, Peter Cahill, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, Esther Walker, appeals from the action of a principal in the New York City school system. Respondent Bly gave petitioner an unsatisfactory teaching rating and petitioner was subsequently dismissed. The appeal is dismissed.

Respondent has failed to submit a timely answer to the petition despite petitioner's service of the petition on March 18, 1991. By letter dated April 22, 1991 my Office of Counsel apprised respondent Bly of ''275.9 and 275.13 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requiring respondent to submit an answer (8 NYCRR ''275.9 and 275.13). Respondent has representation from her employer, the New York City Board of Education, but a timely answer was not submitted on her behalf. Counsel for respondent did not request an extension of the time to answer in writing, and attempted to submit an answer more than two months after it was due without offering a sufficient excuse for the late submission. My Office of Counsel has, therefore, rejected the late answer on two occasions. Accordingly, the factual allegations set forth in the petition will be deemed to be true statements that have been admitted by respondent (8 NYCRR '275.11).

On October 7, 1990, respondent observed petitioner and gave her a rating of fair. Four days later, respondent informed petitioner that the rating would be changed to unsatisfactory. No reasons were given other than respondent had changed her mind. There is no indication in the petition that this rating was appealed to the Chancellor. Appeals to the Commissioner of Education must be commenced within thirty days from the making of the decision or the performance of the act complained of, unless excused by the Commissioner for good cause (8 NYCRR '275.16). Petitioner appeals from the unsatisfactory rating she received in October 1990 and from her subsequent dismissal at the end of the 1989-90 school year. This appeal was not properly commenced until March 18, 1991, although petitioner did attempt to commence the appeal in February, 1991. Petitioner offers no excuse for the delay, and, therefore, I must dismiss the appeal as untimely.

Although I am dismissing this appeal, I must, nevertheless, admonish the New York City Board of Education for its failure to submit a timely answer.