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Decision No. 15,990

Appeal of CYNTHIA A.P. REDMAN from action of the Board of Education of the Patchogue-Medford Union Free School District regarding termination of a probationary appointment.

Decision No. 15,990

(September 30, 2009)

Guercio & Guercio, LLP, attorneys for respondent, Barbara P. Aloe, Esq., of counsel

HUXLEY, Interim Commissioner.--Petitioner challenges the termination of her probationary appointment by the Board of Education of the Patchogue-Medford Union Free School District (“respondent”).  The appeal must be dismissed.

On August 28, 2006, respondent appointed petitioner as a probationary teacher in music.  By letter dated April 9, 2008, the superintendent advised petitioner that, at respondent’s May 19, 2008 board meeting, he would recommend termination of petitioner’s services as a probationary teacher.  On May 19, 2008, respondent terminated petitioner’s probationary appointment, effective as of the close of business on June 30, 2008.  By letter dated May 20, 2008, petitioner was notified of respondent’s decision. This appeal ensued.

Petitioner challenges her termination on the sole basis that the superintendent allegedly misrepresented facts at the board meeting where her termination was discussed.  Specifically, petitioner claims that when a board member asked whether the superintendent had ever observed petitioner in the classroom, the superintendent stated that he had.  Petitioner claims that the superintendent never observed her in the classroom.  Petitioner asks that respondent reevaluate its action and reinstate her.

Respondent argues, among other things, that its decision was proper and that petitioner has failed to meet her burden of proof.

In an appeal to the Commissioner, a petitioner has the burden of demonstrating a clear legal right to the relief requested and the burden of establishing the facts upon which petitioner seeks relief (8 NYCRR §275.10; Appeal of Brown, 46 Ed Dept Rep 584, Decision No. 15,602; Appeals of Hubbard, 46 id. 533, Decision No. 15,585; Appeal of Darrow, 46 id. 182, Decision No. 15,477).

A board of education has the unfettered right to terminate a probationary teacher for any reason unless the employee establishes that he or she was terminated for a constitutionally impermissible reason or in violation of a statutory proscription (Education Law §3012[1][a]; Appeal of Hinson, 48 Ed Dept Rep 437, Decision No. 15,908). 

The only allegation of wrongdoing in the petition is that the superintendent allegedly misrepresented facts to respondent.  Respondent submitted an affidavit from its superintendent stating that on one occasion he informally observed petitioner in the classroom. Petitioner did not refute this in her reply and she has not alleged any constitutional or statutory violations.  Accordingly, on the record before me, I find that petitioner has failed to establish any basis on which to annul respondent’s action.