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Decision No. 13,116

Appeal of PHILIP and CANDACE BELLISARI from action of the Board of Education of the Locust Valley Central School District and Dr. Matthew J. DiRisio, Superintendent, with respect to a probationary employee.

Decision No. 13,116

(February 28, 1994)

Louis N. Orfan, Esq., attorney for respondents

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioners challenge the acceptance by the Board of Education of the Locust Valley Central School District and its superintendent of the resignation of Ralph A. Leitner, the principal of the junior-senior high school. The appeal must be dismissed.

On July 25, 1991, Principal Leitner was given a three year probationary appointment effective August 1, 1991. According to respondents, prior to June 10, 1993, Mr. Leitner delivered a letter of resignation, effective June 30, 1993, to the president of the board of education and to Superintendent DiRisio. Respondents admit that the superintendent requested Mr. Leitner's resignation.

Petitioners claim that respondents forced Mr. Leitner to resign and refused to disclose the reason for doing so. They claim that respondents' actions were unfair, arbitrary, and capricious, and that Mr. Leitner was deprived of a fair hearing. Petitioners request, among other things, that I suspend the board of education, annul the superintendent's contract of employment, annul Mr. Leitner's resignation and reinstate him to his position with tenure.

Respondents contend that Mr. Leitner's resignation, although requested, was voluntary and was not procured by any improper or illegal means. They further claim that the board's acceptance of the resignation was proper in all respects and that Mr. Leitner was not entitled to a hearing. Respondents also assert that petitioners have no standing to maintain this appeal.

With respect to petitioners' request that I suspend the board, I note that petitioners have not complied with 8 NYCRR Part 277, have not named the individual board members as respondents and have not served them. These omissions are jurisdictional and preclude me from considering any action against the board members individually (Application of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 31 Ed Dept Rep 212; Appeal of Como, 30 id. 214; Appeal of the Parent of a Child with a Handicapping Condition, 26 id. 540).

With respect to the balance of petitioners' claims, I find that petitioners have no legal standing to maintain this appeal. Petitioners are the parents of Timothy Bellisari, a student at the district's junior-senior high school. They are also apparently residents and taxpayers of the district. It has been held on many occasions that a taxpayer, resident, or parent is not an aggrieved party within the meaning of Education Law '310 so as to allow an appeal with respect to personnel actions taken by a school district (Matter of Szymczak, 6 Ed Dept Rep 112; Matter of Cheeseman, 9 id. 17; Matter of Fritz, 9 id. 56; Matter of Meek, 9 id. 79; Matter of Brown, 11 id. 44; Matter of Loiacono, et al., 11 id. 270). Those decisions are merely a specific application of the more general rule that only the aggrieved party himself may maintain an appeal, and that another may not do so on his behalf (Matter of Caunitz, 30 Ed Dept Rep 396; Matter of Peto, 31 id. 390). Mr. Leitner has brought no appeal to challenge the actions of the board or the superintendent.

I have examined the parties' remaining contentions and find them without merit.