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Decision No. 13,216

Appeal of FREDERICK M. COBB, JR. from action of the Board of Education of the Duanesburg Central School District regarding a shared decisionmaking plan.

Decision No. 13,216

(July 12, 1994)

Paul M. Callahan, Esq, attorney for respondent

SOBOL, Commissioner.--Petitioner, a resident of the Duanesburg Central School District, challenges several aspects of a shared decisionmaking plan adopted by the Duanesburg Board of Education ("respondent") on February 15, 1994, pursuant to 8 NYCRR '100.11. The appeal must be dismissed.

Petitioner first contends that respondent did not sufficiently inform the residents of the district about the plan. Respondent denies that allegation and points out that the plan was discussed at numerous public meetings during its development. Respondent additionally states that it is planning to inform the public about the plan through the district newsletter and announcements from the Duanesburg Parent-Teacher-Student Organization (PTSO), which will reach "virtually 100% of the households in the district." Section 100.11(d)(1) of the Commissioner's regulations provides that the "plan shall be made available to the public." Respondent avers that copies of the plan are available from its business office and that the public is aware of the plan's availability through notices in its newsletter and information sent home to parents. Accordingly, there is no basis to conclude that respondent has not informed residents of the plan.

Petitioner also contends that the method set forth in the plan for selecting parent members of each building team is defective. Because the selection of parent members is limited to members of the PTSO, petitioner contends that members selected will not be representative of the entire community. However, that contention ignores the fact that all district parents are automatically considered members of the PTSO for the purpose of participating on a building team. Moreover, membership on the PTSO is open to all district parents.

Petitioner also criticizes the process set forth in the plan which provides that community members of building teams will be selected by the site-based management teams. Petitioner maintains that community members should instead be selected by the board. Finally, petitioner alleges that the process for amending the plan is defective because suggested changes from a building team are reviewed by a steering committee before being presented to the board. Petitioner would prefer that recommended amendments from a building team be presented directly to the board without prior review by the steering committee. With respect to petitioner's contentions regarding the selection of community members and the process for amending the plan, petitioner presents no basis for deeming respondent's plan to be in violation of law or regulation. He merely disagrees with the plan and contends that his ideas are better. In the absence of some demonstration that respondent has acted in an arbitrary or unreasonable manner, or has violated the shared decisionmaking regulations, petitioner's mere disagreement with the plan is not a basis for ordering respondent to adopt the changes espoused by petitioner.