Skip to main content

Decision No. 12,867

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. 12,867

(December 29, 1992)

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

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, a resident of the Goshen Central School District, appeals from respondents' actions regarding telephone calls made by respondent superintendent. The appeal is dismissed.

On August 26, 1992, petitioner wrote to respondent board of education asserting that respondent superintendent engaged in theft of services by making personal long distance telephone calls at school district expense. He sought examination of his charges by respondent board of education. Specifically, petitioner contends that an average of five telephone calls per day were placed to Albany, New York, and that telephone calls were placed to the Hoosic Valley Central School District by personnel in respondent school district.

On September 15, 1992, respondent board of education advised that, after investigating the charges, it was the board's belief that no wrongdoing had occurred. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner asserts that the superintendent was involved in theft of services and seeks to have the practice stopped and funds recovered by the school district. Respondent contends that the petition should be dismissed as against respondent board of education for failure to state a claim, and as against respondent superintendent for failure to prove his allegations.

The appeal must be dismissed as against respondent board of education for failure to comply with '275.10, which provides that a petition must contain a "clear and concise statement of the petitioner's claims 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; Appeal of Mitzner, 32 Ed Dept Rep ___, Decision #12848, dated December 15, 1992; Application of Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 Ed Dept Rep 65). Petitioner raises no claims against respondent board of education, and as such the appeal against the board must be dismissed.

The appeal must also be dismissed as against respondent superintendent. 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 Mitzner, supra; Appeal of Bach, 32 Ed Dept Rep 273; Application of Verity, 31 id. 485). Petitioner provides no evidence to support his claim that respondent Colistra made personal long distance telephone calls using school district telephones. Instead, the petition contains unsubstantiated and conclusory statements which do not establish the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR '275.10; Appeal of Mitzner, supra; Applications of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 Ed Dept Rep 33).

Since October 1991, petitioner has filed eleven appeals before me, ten 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 time consuming, it inevitably creates delays in the decision-making process for others with meritorious claims.

Further, petitioner asserts that superintendent Colistra could in some way persuade me to make an inappropriate determination. I decide cases purely on the record before me. If a petition such as this one has no merit, it is on that basis alone that a determination is made to dismiss the appeal.