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Decision No. 13,566

Appeal of the Board of Education of the Saranac Central School District from an order of a hearing panel pursuant to Education Law '3020-a concerning charges against Anonymous, a tenured teacher.

Decision No. 13,566

(March 8, 1996)


Stafford, Trombley, Purcell, Lahtinen, Owens & Curtin, P.C., Esqs., attorneys for petitioner, Dennis D. Curtin, Esq., of counsel

Bernard F. Ashe, Esq., attorney for respondent, Ivor R. Moskowitz, Esq., of counsel


MILLS, Commissioner.--During the pendency of a disciplinary hearing pursuant to Education Law '3020-a, the Board of Education of the Saranac Central School District ("petitioner") appeals from an order of the hearing panel. The appeal must be dismissed.

On March 10, 1994, petitioner found probable cause with respect to 77 charges against respondent teacher, and on May 19, 1994, found probable cause as to an additional 23 charges. Prior to a hearing on the consolidated charges, respondent successfully moved to dismiss 18 of those charges without prejudice. A hearing on the remaining charges was conducted before a hearing panel commencing on October 18, 1994, and ending on March 1, 1995, when petitioner concluded its case in chief and rested. By a notice of motion dated April 21, 1995, respondent moved to dismiss 42 charges for failure to establish a prima facie case. The panel rendered a decision on that motion dismissing 8 charges, further dismissing portions of 4 other charges, and denying the motion as to the other 30 charges.

Petitioner brings this appeal to challenge the dismissal of 4 of the 8 charges that were dismissed outright. It argues that in each case the hearing panel erred, and that in each case the charge was supported by sufficient evidence to withstand the motion to dismiss. Respondent argues to the contrary, and further claims that chapter 691 of the Laws of 1994 prevents the granting of relief in this matter. Respondent further alleges that the appeal is premature and should await the outcome of the hearing on the remaining charges presently pending.

Chapter 691 of the Laws of 1994 has no application to this disciplinary proceeding. By its terms ('5), it applies to those proceedings in which charges were filed pursuant to '3020-a on or after September 1, 1994.

Moreover, the appeal must be dismissed because it is an impermissible attempt to challenge an interlocutory ruling. Such applications have consistently been denied, even where a panel chairman has suggested the taking of an interlocutory appeal (Appeal of the Board of Education of the Arlington CSD, 31 Ed Dept Rep 469; Appeal of Anonymous, 30 id. 321; Appeal of Blumenblatt, 29 id. 16; Appeal of St. Cyr, 27 id. 351; Matter of McFerran, 14 id. 390).

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