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Decision No. 13,780

Application to reopen the appeal of DONALD A. PERRY and ALFRED WROBLEWSKI from action of the Board of Education of the Royalton-Hartland Central School District and the Royalton-Hartland Teachers' Association regarding a teacher contract.

Decision No. 13,780

(June 23, 1997)

Norton/Radin/Hoover/Freedman, Esqs., attorneys for respondent Board of Education, Bernard B. Freedman, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioners seek to reopen Decision No. 13682, dated September 28, 1996, which dismissed petitioners' challenge to respondent board's extension of the district teachers' contract. The application must be denied.

Section 276.8 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education governs applications to reopen. It provides that an application to reopen is addressed solely to the discretion of the Commissioner and will not be granted in the absence of a showing that the decision which is the subject of such application was rendered under a misapprehension as to the facts or that there is new and material evidence which was not available at the time the original decision was made.

Petitioners allege that the decision rendered in Appeal of Perry and Wroblewski, 36 Ed Dept Rep 141 was based upon a misapprehension of the facts. Petitioners contend that I misunderstood the previous appeal since petitioners were challenging the legality of the Memorandum of Agreement and not the extension of the teachers' contract.

In their original appeal, petitioners alleged that the superintendent was without authority to negotiate a contract and that no negotiating process took place between respondent board and respondent association and sought an order annulling the agreements entered into between the superintendent and the association. Respondent board contended that its actions regarding the memoranda of agreement and the contract were in all respects proper and that the bargaining agreement between the board and the association constituted a valid and legally enforceable agreement under Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, commonly known as the Taylor Law. In this application, respondent board contends that petitioners' application to reopen the decision consists primarily of reargument on why petitioners' original appeal should have been sustained.

The application must be dismissed. I find no misapprehension of fact in the original decision, nor do I find any new and material evidence which was not available at the time of the original decision. In this application, petitioners state that their original appeal did not "challenge the extension of the teachers' contract" but challenged the legality of the agreements relating to the extension of the contract. Petitioners' assertions that respondent board's negotiations with the teachers' union were flawed, that the superintendent misrepresented the terms of the contract, and that the memoranda of agreement were invalid are arguments raised in the original appeal. I reviewed the record and petitioners' contentions regarding the negotiation process, its terms and the agreements reached and found them without merit. Here, petitioners advance the same argument made in their original appeal. An application for reopening is not intended to provide an opportunity for reargument of a prior decision (Application of Varghese, 35 Ed Dept Rep 50; Application of Bach, 34 id. 18; Application of Maloney, 33 id. 391). Therefore, the various forms of relief requested by petitioners in this application cannot be granted.