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Decision No. 15,212

Appeal of MICHAEL J. CIMINO from action of the Board of Education of the Plainedge Union Free School District regarding certain expenditures.

Decision No. 15,212

(April 26, 2005)

Ingerman Smith, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Carrie E. Flynn, Esq., of counsel

MILLS, Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the action of the Board of Education of Plainedge Union Free School District ("respondent") in adding certain expenditures to the budget approved by the voters for the 2004-2005 school year. The appeal must be dismissed.

On May 18, 2004, the original budget submitted by respondent to the voters was defeated. Respondent then prepared a second budget, reduced by $521,830 from the amount of the first budget, which was approved by the voters on June 29, 2004. Among the expenditures that were eliminated between the original budget and the second budget were the costs associated with the position of director of guidance, an athletic trainer position, and seventh grade winter and spring sports.

On August 10, 2004, respondent voted to restore the director of guidance position, the athletic trainer position, the seventh grade winter and spring sports, and in addition voted to hire an outside auditor and to approve a forensic audit. The net increase in expenditures of these additional items was approximately $130,000. The board minutes indicate that the additional expenditures would be paid with additional State aid for the 2004-2005 school year in the amount of $260,000.

The petition merely states the board's actions. It does not claim that the board violated any law or regulation, and it does not demand any form of relief.

Respondent admits the allegations of the petition, and argues that the appeal is untimely, fails to state a claim, fails to request any relief, and fails to make any allegation that the board has acted arbitrarily, capriciously, or without a rational basis.

The appeal must be dismissed as untimely. The board action complained of occurred on August 10, 2004, but the appeal was not commenced until October 22, 2004, well beyond the thirty days allowed by �275.16 of the Commissioner's regulations. While the Commissioner may excuse a failure to commence an appeal within the time specified for good cause shown and set forth in the petition, here there is no such ground for excuse.

The petition must also be dismissed pursuant to �275.10 of the regulations, which requires that a petition contain a clear and concise statement of petitioner's claim showing an entitlement to relief, and a demand for relief. The petition fails in both respects.