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Decision No. 12,848

Appeal of BERNARD M. MITZNER from action of the Board of Education of the Goshen Central School District and Joseph Colistra, Superintendent, relating to actions of the Superintendent.

Decision No. 12,848

(December 15, 1992)

Shaw and Silveira, Esq., attorneys for respondents, Garrett L. Silveira, Esq., of counsel

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, a resident of the Goshen Central School District, appeals from certain of respondents' actions regarding a letter sent to petitioner by the respondent school district's attorney. The appeal is dismissed.

On August 20, 1992, respondents' attorney sent a letter to petitioner advising him that he was not to engage Goshen employees in conversation during their work hours. Petitioner sought a hearing with respondent board of education to determine the basis for the letter. His request was denied. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner asserts that respondent Superintendent Colistra directed the school attorney to send him the letter at issue to harass and intimidate him. Petitioner seeks Superintendent Colistra's rehabilitation.

Respondents contend that the petition should be dismissed for failure to state a claim in violation of the Commissioner's regulations '275.10. Respondents further contend that the petition fails to contain a cognizable demand for relief.

The appeal must be dismissed for failure to comply with '275.10, which provides that a petition must contain "a clear and concise statement of the petitioner's claim showing that the petitioner is entitled to relief, and shall further contain a demand for the relief to which the petitioner deems himself entitled" (8 NYCRR '275.10; Application of Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 Ed Dept Rep 65; Appeal of Fassler, 31 id. 15). While it is unclear from the pleadings, it appears that petitioner is challenging the superintendent's directive to the school attorney to send petitioner a letter, the purpose of which he claims was to harass and intimidate him. In an appeal before the Commissioner of Education, the petitioner has the burden of establishing the facts upon which he or she seeks relief (8 NYCRR 275.10; Appeal of Bach, 32 Ed Dept Rep ___, decision #12828, dated October 30, 1992; Appeal of Verity, 31 id. 485; Appeal of Singh, 30 id. 284). Petitioner provides no evidence to support his claim that respondent Colistra's motive in having the school district attorney send petitioner the letter was to harass and intimidate him. Instead, the petition contains unsubstantiated and conclusory statements which do not establish the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR '275.10; Applications of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 Ed Dept Rep 33; Appeal of Pickreign, 28 id. 163).

Since October 1991, petitioner has filed nine appeals before me, eight of which were dismissed. Since petitioner's pursuits, for the most part, are baseless and serve only to slow down a system designed to offer a forum for individuals who seek redress, petitioner is urged to seriously consider whether his claims have merit before he initiates another appeal. To do otherwise is not only costly and unnecessarily time consuming, it inevitably creates delays in the decision-making process for others with meritorious claims.