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STATE OF NEW YORK
STATE
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
_________________________________________X
In the matter of Stewart S. Lilker,
property owner and taxpayer of  
Freeport Union Free School District
for a determination by the Commissioner
to remove the District Clerk, Mary Bediako and
the Board of Education: Dante Grover,
Albert Renken, Joyce Lisi, John Muscara, and
Ronald Ellerbe for acting outside
their jurisdiction and without any authority from
the Commissioner of Education,
to wit: holding secret school board meetings
and not keeping minutes.
_________________________________________X

Preliminary Statement

The following facts are respectfully submitted to the Commissioner in support of this petition for a determination to remove from office the District Clerk, Mary Bediako and the Freeport Board of Education: Dante Grover, Albert Renken, Joyce Lisi, John Muscara, and Ronald Ellerbe for intentionally and willfully with wrongful intent, violating the Laws on New York State, the District Policies and their Oaths of Office by acting outside their jurisdiction and without any authority from the Commissioner of Education, to wit, having secret school board meetings.

  1. The Freeport Board of Education has a history of meeting in secret. Between 1989 and 1992 members of the Freeport staff falsified student time cards totaling approximately 563,000 hours of time. Upon their discovery of this falsification, the Board of Education ("Board") met at least once in Albany and other times in the district and never announced these meetings to the public. A careful examination of the School District minutes shows no record of these meetings. The tradition of secrecy continued when on March 19, 1998 this Board met secretly with the Freeport NY Village Attorney, Harrison J. Edwards.

  2. On November 10, 1999 the Freeport Board of Education met with the public, various members of the administrative staff, an architectural firm and construction management firm at a public meeting held in the Atkinson school. The Clerk did not prepare minutes of this meeting. At the conclusion of said November 10, 1999 meeting, the Board held a secret executive session in the District Administration building. There weren't any minutes prepared of this meeting, nor is there any indication anywhere that it ever occurred..

    It is the petitioner's position that the Respondent District Clerk, Mary Bediako and Board of Education: Dante Grover, Albert Renken, Joyce Lisi, John Muscara, and Ronald Ellerbe, collectively and individually operated outside their authority and jurisdiction and willfully and intentionally with wrongful intent violated their Oaths of Office, the by-laws of the Freeport Union Free School District, the laws of New York State and the rules and regulations of the Commissioner of Education, by having secret Board of Education meetings. Accordingly, the Commissioner has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to Education Law § 306 (1) and Education Law § 1706.

    STATEMENT OF FACTS

  3. On March 19, 1998 the Freeport Board of Education ("the Board") met secretly with the Freeport NY Village Attorney, Harrison J. Edwards. The District did not post a notice of this meeting as is required by law, nor did the District Clerk, Mary Bediako, prepare minutes of said meeting. A careful examination of the records and Board minutes of the district reveals that there is no record of this meeting. The billing record, detailing the Village Attorney's meeting with the Board of Education is annexed hereto as Exhibit "1".

  4. On November 10, 1999 the Board met to discuss what they called "the conceptual improvement plan for our schools." This meeting was attended by the entire Board, Dante Grover, Albert Renken, Joyce Lisi, Ronald Ellerbe, and John Muscara. The administration also attended this meeting. Those members were the Assistant Supt. Of Curriculum and District Records Access Officer, Dr. Anthony Ciaglia, the Assistant Supt. Of Business, Kishore Kuncham, the Director of Personnel and District Clerk, Mary Bediako. The Architects and Construction Management Firm also attended this meeting. Annexed hereto as Exhibit "2" is the notice posted on the Administration Building and other buildings in the District. Annexed hereto as Exhibit "3" is the first and next to the last page of the slide presentation presented to the public on the night of November 10, 1999.<fn 1>

  5. At the conclusion of the November 10th Board meeting, Board President Grover said, "All right, does anybody else have any questions? Thank you everyone." After a short while of small talk, Mr. Grover and the Board left the meeting. Annexed hereto as Exhibit "4" is the transcript from the audio tape of the end of the meeting (see pg. 1 line 1 to 4). Annexed hereto as Exhibit "5" is the Affidavit of Joseph Bailey, III. (see par 1 to 9).

  6. I left the meeting with Mr. Joseph Bailey, III ("Mr. Bailey). While walking toward the parking lot I noticed that the automobiles of the Board and the Administrators were still in the parking lot. I mentioned to Mr. Bailey that it seemed that the Board must have gone to meet somewhere. I told Mr. Bailey that I never saw or heard the Board make any resolution to go into executive session. Mr. Bailey told me he didn't see or hear it. Mr. Bailey told me that after the meeting he saw the Board turn away from the exit and walk down the hall of the Atkinson School. Mr. Bailey and I walked back to the Atkinson School to find them. After a short time, unable to find the missing Board, I inquired of the cleaning crew as to their whereabouts. They said they went out the side door and were meeting across the street at the Administration Building.

  7. Mr. Bailey and I went to the side entrance of the Administration Building. The doors were locked. I rang the bell; Mr. Kuncham came to the door and opened it about a foot; Mr. Kuncham tried to block our entrance by pulling the door shut; I put my foot in the door; I walked into the building followed by Mr. Bailey; Mr. Kuncham told us to wait at the bottom of the stairs like a couple of criminals. Mr. Bailey and I walked up the short flight of stairs to the Board room; Mr. Kuncham scurried past us into the Board room.

  8. After a few moments Board President Grover emerged from the Board room with a big smile and in an unsolicited testimonial said:

    "I made the announcement. One matter of personnel. Ron seconded the motion.

    After some conversation Mr. Grover repeated his assertion:

    At the end of the meeting I said does anybody have any further questions and I said I have an item of personnel for executive session. One item. May I have a second please and Ron seconded it.
    ***
    I spoke loud and clear as I did throughout the meeting.
    ***
    I'm telling you the announcement was made.
    (see full transcript, exhibit "4")

  9. After some brief conversation, Mr. Grover reentered the Board room.

  10. After a few minutes Mr. Bailey and I left the administration building.

  11. On December 10, 1999 I went to the Administration building to inspect the Board Of Education minutes from October 13, 1999 to and including December 10, 1999. The FOIL request was clear and specific:

    "Under the provision of the NYS FOIL I am requesting the following records be made available. All minutes of the Board of education from October 13, 1999 to the present day.

    There were only two sets of unapproved minutes made available, those of October 13, 1999 and November 17, 1999. They were made available by Ms. Denise Elmore. Ms. Elmore stamped the request with the received stamp of the District Clerk. The District Clerk, Mary Bediako was not available.<fn 2>

  12. After receiving the requested copies, Ms. Elmore certified that "All inf requested rec'd + and hand carried." Ms. Elmore made a copy of the first page of the FOIL request and wrote the aforementioned in the top right of the page after I had written, "Received 16 pages, all documents on file." She again the stamped the page with the received stamp of the District Clerk.<fn 3>

  13. On December 15, 1999 the Board met at the Atkinson School. A copy of the first page of the agenda is annexed hereto as Exhibit "8". Under items for action the minutes of October 13th, November 17th, and December 1, 1999 were proposed to be accepted as written.

  14. Pursuant to the District Policy the public is given an opportunity to question the Board on the items for action.<fn 4> I questioned them on among other things, the acceptance of the minutes. A transcript of that portion of the December 15th meeting is annexed hereto as Exhibit "9". During this exchange Board VP Renken explained that " --- the minutes being presented for approval tonight. They are October 13th, November 17th and December 1st." I then asked, " --- Have there been any other meetings? "VP Renken replied, "Open Board meetings. No. Executive Sessions. No."

  15. Neither the District Clerk, Mary Bediako, nor the attending Board members Joyce Lisi, Ronald Ellerbe, or John Muscara contradicted the Vice President's affirmative denial that there had been no other Board meetings.

  16. On the evening of December 15, 1999, the Petitioner discovered that the District Clerk along with all the members of the Freeport Board of Education had finally determined to keep the November 10, 1999 executive session from the residents of the Freeport School Community and from the Petitioner himself.

     

    FIRST CLAIM

     

  17. The Board violated District Policy no. 2330, adopted July 1, 1999, entitled Executive Sessions by convening into executive session without a request from a member, a resolution or vote. District Policy no. 2330 is annexed hereto as Exhibit "10".

  18. The Board further violated Policy no. 2330 by not "reconvene (ing) in open session --- to adjourn the meeting."

  19. Furthermore the Board violated Policy no. 2330 by not having "the name of the person who called for the executive session --- in the minutes of the public meeting."

     

    SECOND CLAIM

     

  20. The Board violated District Policy no. 2360, adopted July 1, 1999, entitled Minutes. Neither the Open Board meeting of November 10, 1999 nor the executive session were recorded in minutes kept by the District Clerk, Mary Bediako. The District Clerk did willfully and intentionally and with wrongful intent keep the minutes of the November 10th meetings from the petitioner and the public.

  21. Policy no. 2360 says in part:

            The Freeport Union Free School District Board of Education believes that open and accurate communication regarding its internal operation enhances the district's public relations program and provides a record of the district's progress towards its annual goals.
            Therefore, the Board will maintain a set of minutes of each meeting.---
        --- matters formally voted upon by the Board shall be recorded in Board minutes.
    Policy no. 2360 is annexed hereto as Exhibit "11".

    THIRD CLAIM

     

  22. The Board violated District Policy no. 2160, adopted July 1, 1999, entitled School Board Code of Ethics by among other things, in regard to the Nov. 10th Board meeting, having a secret meeting; by not keeping minutes or any record of said meeting and by having the meeting in a locked building not open to the general public. The Board, at the barest minimum, did violate the following sections (titles in bold) of the Code of Ethics "Upholding the principles of due process ---," Obeying all national, state and local laws ---," and lastly "Instilling respect for community, state and nation." Annexed hereto as Exhibit "12" is Policy no. 2160, School Board Code of Ethics.

    FOURTH CLAIM

     

  23. By convening secret meetings, The Board and the District Clerk violated the spirit and intent of Public Officers Law, Art. 7 Open Meetings Law, § 100 Legislative Declaration which states:

    It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that the public business be performed in an open and public manner and that the citizens of this state be fully aware of and able to observe the performance of public officials and attend and listen to the deliberations and decisions that go into the making of public policy. The people must be able to remain informed if they are to retain control over those who are their public servants. It is the only climate under which the commonweal will prosper and enable the governmental process to operate for the benefit of those who created it. (emphasis added)

    FIFTH CLAIM

     

  24. The Board and the District Clerk did know the consequences of their actions and cannot claim ignorance. Policy no. 2130, Resignation and Dismissal, approved by the Board on July 1, 1999 clearly states:

    A Board member may be removed from office by the Commissioner of Education for willful violation of any provision of law, neglect of duty, or willfully disobeying any decision, order or regulation of the Commissioner.

    Policy no. 2130 is annexed hereto as Exhibit "13".

     

    REQUEST FOR STAY OF PROCEEDINGS

     

  25. Pursuant to § 276.1 the petitioner respectfully requests a stay of proceedings in that the Commissioner by the powers vested in him by the laws of NYS order and stay the Freeport Board of Education from having any more secret Board meetings.

  26. Furthermore, it is respectfully requested that the Commissioner order and stay the District Clerk from not producing minutes of Board of Education meetings, as she is required to do by law and to furthermore make the minutes of open meetings available in two weeks and executive sessions available in one week as is required by law.

  27. It is further respectfully requested that the Commissioner order the Freeport Board of Education to audio tape their open meetings and make these tapes available to the petitioner and the public, pursuant to the Open Meetings Law, so that the public will be aware of the meetings of the Board.

     

    REQUEST FOR ORAL ARGUMENT

     

  28. Pursuant to § 276.2 the petitioner respectfully requests oral argument.

     

    IN CONCLUSION

     

  29. On every occasion the respondents had to make right their wrongful deeds, they willfully carried forward contrary to the rules, regulations, and laws of NYS and the Commissioner of Education and in violation of their Oath's Of Office and their own lawfully adopted by-laws of the Freeport Union Free School District.

    WHEREFORE, the petitioner respectfully requests of the Commissioner the following:

    a. Remove the Board of Education (Dante Grover, Albert Renken, Joyce Lisi John Muscara, Ronald Ellerbe) pursuant to Education Law § 1706 for willfully failing to perform their lawful duties.

    b. Remove the District Clerk, Mary Bediako, pursuant to Education Law § 306, for willfully failing to perform her lawful duties.

    d. Based on all the aforementioned, the Petitioner respectfully requests the Commissioner stay the Freeport Board of Education from having any more secret meetings and stay the District Clerk from not producing minutes of Board meetings.

    Dated: January 12, 1999
    Respectfully submitted,

    ___________________

    Stewart S Lilker
    17 Lexington Ave.
    Freeport NY 11520
    Hm Ph: (516) 623-1639
    Wk Ph: (516) 378-8992
    Fax: (516) 378-9019

    Mailing Address:
    Stewart S Lilker
    C/o Donart
    302 Guy Lombardo Avenue
    Freeport NY 11520

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

<fn 1> It is interesting to note that the 12/15/99 adoption date was changed without one word of public discussion at any public meeting on or before 12/15/99.

<fn 2> It is interesting to note that Ms. Elmore, is not the District Clerk, however, she uses the "Clerk's Received stamp." In the districts Verified Answer, Appeal no. 16749, the Affidavit of Elmore attested that she was not authorized "to accept service of legal papers," yet she is now using the Clerk's received stamp at will.

<fn 3> Id.

<fn 4> Even though not required by law, it is the practice of the Board to approve all minutes at their regular scheduled meetings, adding two weeks for preparation to the time it takes for them to come before the Board.

 

EXHIBIT "1"

Billing record (partial - ed) of Harrision Edwards, Village Atny. These have been paid by the Inc. Village of Freeport.

DATE                                             SERVICES RENDERED                                                                                           HOURS

3/16/98         Review Nassau County agreement re DWI; tele. conf. with Mayor re terms             .25
3/16/98         Prepare for Board meeting 1.00
3/16/98         Board meeting                                                                                                 3.00
                                                                                                                            Total:     4.25

 

3/19/98         Prepare for meeting with Audubon Society; Freeport School Board re Water         1.00
                    Works property

3/19/98         Meeting with Audubon Society and Freeport School Board re Water Works          2.00
                    property

3/19/98         Memo to file re development option                                                                     1.00

3/19/98         Revise/complete Pigadis letter of denial; meeting with J. Madigan, R. Sagarese      2.00
re revisions; review recommendation re SEQRA; tele. conf. with H. Avrutine,

Law Offices of Edwards & Edwards 4

 

EXHIBIT "4"

Transcript of tape of end of Nov. 10th meeting at the Atkinson School and following goings on at the Administration Building

MR. RENKEN:     ...projectors. If I didn’t have Walter who was a board electrician I would have never gotten done.

MR. GROVER:     All right, does anybody else have any questions? Thank you everyone.

(Mr. Lilker and Mr. Bailey walk back into the Atkinson School looking for the School Board. Then walk back to the Administration Building, Mr. Lilker rings the bell.)

MR. BAILEY:     Who is this, Ron Ellerbe? That’s Kunchum. Oh, they are meeting. Ain’t that something.

(Mr. Kuncham opens the door)

Man, how are you doing. They having a meeting.

MR. LILKER:     Is there a meeting in here?

KUNCHAM:     Just stay there. Just stay there.

MR. LILKER:     They never made an announcement.

KUNCHAM:     Don’t talk and don’t push me.

MR. LILKER:     I’m not pushing you. They never made an announcement.

KUNCHAM:     I asked you to stay here.

MR. LILKER:     I’m going to sit in the chair if you don’t mind. I’m very thirsty my throat is very dry.

MR. GROVER:     I made the announcement. One matter of personnel. Ron seconded the motion.

MR. LILKER:     Well there’s was a half a dozen people who never heard it and there’s one of them right there.

MR. GROVER:     Okay. I did make the announcement--

MR. LILKER:     ... never heard it. ... never heard it.

MR. GROVER:     At the end of the meeting I said does anybody have any further questions and I said I have an item of personnel for executive session. One item. May I have a second please and Ron seconded it.

MR. LILKER:     There’s dozen people here that didn’t hear it. Next time speak up.

MR. GROVER:     I spoke loud and clear as I did throughout the entire meeting.

MR. LILKER:     -- nobody heard it.

MR. GROVER:     It not a problem, but I’m telling you the announcement was made.

MR. LILKER:     I heard what you said.

(Mr. Grover walks back into board room)

MR. LILKER:     (to Mr. Bailey) Did you hear it?

MR. BAILEY:     I didn’t hear it.

 

EXHIBIT "5"

Affidavit of Joseph Bailey III, In Support of Petition

State of New York}
                                } ss.:
County of Nassau }

I, Joseph Bailey,III, P.E., duly sworn depose and say that:

  1. I, Joseph Bailey,III, P.E., reside at 93 Lincoln Place, Freeport, New York and I make this statement under the penalty of perjury.

  2. I am a member of the Freeport High School PTA and I have a child in the Freeport School System. Since August 1999, I have taken a more active role in the monitoring of the activities of the Freeport School District and the Freeport School Board. I take an active role in the education of my child. I am fairly knowledgeable of what goes on in the Freeport School District. While I have not attended all of the meetings of the Freeport School Board, I have attended enough of the meetings to keep abreast of what is going on in the Freeport School District.

  3. On November 10, 1999, at approximately 7:30 P.M., I attended a Board of Education meeting at the Caroline G. Atkinson Elementary School in Freeport, New York. The meeting was well attended by the residents of the district. I recognized the following members of the School Board in attendance: Dante Grover, Board President; Dr. Albert Renken, Board VP; Joyce Lisi; Ronald Ellerbe; John Muscara.

  4. I recognized the following members of the administrative staff at this meeting: Dr. Mary Bediako, District Clerk and Director of Personnel; Dr. Anthony Ciaglia, Asst. Supt. Of Curriculum Mr. Dan Romano, director of Buildings and Grounds; Mr. Kinshore Kuncham, Asst. Supt. Of Business.

  5. Also in attendance to discuss the building projects was the architect and the construction management firm.

  6. Toward the end of the meeting, Dr. Renken, related a story about himself and one of the attendees at the meeting.

  7. When Dr. Renken had finished his story, Mr. Grover asked: "All right, does anybody else have any questions?" There not being any questions Mr. Grover said, "Thank you everyone."

  8. The microphones were then turned off. Neither Mr. Grover, nor any other Board member made any additional statements. Mr. Grover then stood up from his chair and stepped back from the table.

  9. As I was preparing to leave the meeting, I observed a number of the Freeport School Board members turning right to walk down the hallway and further into the school, instead of turning left and walking out the front door, which would have been only a few feet from them.

  10. A few minutes later, I left the meeting with Stewart Lilker, walking out of the front door of the Atkinson school. Mr. Lilker and I walked toward the Administration Building parking lot. Mr. Lilker remarked to me that he recognized a number of the Board member's cars were still in the parking lot. I told him what I had observed earlier, that the Board didn't walk out the front door. Mr. Lilker and I proceeded back into the Atkinson school to find where the School Board was meeting. We entered the school and walked down the hallway to try and find the Board and were not successful in locating them.

  11. When we returned to the front door and asked the cleaning crew if they had seen the Board, we were told that they thought the Board was meeting across the street at the Administration Building.

  12. Mr. Lilker and I walked across to the Administration Building to the Lincoln Place entrance. When we found the building locked. Mr. Lilker rang the bell and Mr. Kuncham, responded to the ring.

  13. Mr. Kuncham informed Mr. Lilker that we could not enter the building, but would have to go around the corner (in the dark) to the Ocean Avenue Entrance. Mr. Lilker responded that this was ridiculous, as Mr. Kuncham had already opened the door. Mr. Lilker then entered the building and I followed.

  14. Mr. Kuncham attempted to manhandle Mr. Lilker in the doorway, telling him to wait at the bottom of the stairs. To which Mr. Lilker responded, "I'm going to sit in the chair if you don't mind. I'm very thirsty my throat is very dry." Mr. Lilker then walked up a short flight of stairs to the water fountain out side the Board room. I followed. Mr. Kuncham ran up the stairs and disappeared into the Board room..

  15. In a few moments, Mr. Grover emerged. He said to Mr. Lilker, "At the end of the meeting I said does anybody have any further questions and I said I have an item of personnel for executive session. One item. May I have a second please and Ron seconded it."

  16. Mr. Lilker told Mr. Grover he never heard it and neither did anybody else.

  17. I never heard Mr. Grover say that. I recorded the meeting and I have listened to the tape and I could not hear Mr. Grover say that because he didn't.

  18. After Mr. Grover's claim he went back into the Board room and closed the door behind him.

  19. I audio taped the proceedings at the Atkinson School and the Administration Building.

  20. I have given this affidavit of my own free will and have been neither promised nor received any remuneration for this statement.

JOSEPH BAILEY,III, P.E.

Dated: January 12, 2000

Sworn to before me this
_12th_ th day of January, 2000

 

EXHIBIT "9"

Transcript of portion of tape - December 15th Board Meeting.
Board VP Renken unequivocally states that there were no other Board meetings, while the Board and administrators sit silent.

MR. LILKER:     Good evening. Dr. Renken, Board, residents. I have a couple of questions about the agenda. The first thing I would like to see is the minutes that you are approving tonight, if possible.

DR. RENKEN:     The latest minutes?

DR. BEDIAKO:     Mr. Lilker. --- have the minutes.

MR. LILKER:     I would like to see the minutes ---

DR. BEDIAKO:     The thirteenth, the seventeenth and December first.

MR. LILKER:     I would just like to see the minutes.

DR. BEDIAKO:     You saw them. I gave them to you already.

(Dr. Renken hands Mr. Lilker the minutes from his packet)

MR. LILKER:     Thank you. These are all the minutes of all the meetings that we’ve had in the last, not counting October 13th, that we’ve had since December first, sir.

DR. RENKEN:     These are the minutes that are being presented for approval tonight. They are October 13th, November 17th and December 1st.

MR. LILKER:     Thank you. Have there been any other meetings?

DR. RENKEN:     Open Board Meetings. NO. Executive Sessions. No.

MR. LILKER:     Thank you sir. I think you said that’s no executive sessions --. Thank you.

 

EXHIBIT "10"

FREEPORT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT

                                                                                                                                                   Policy 2330

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS

The Freeport Union Free School District Board of Education reserves the right, within the constraints of State Law, to meet in executive session. Such sessions can be requested by any member of the Board or the Superintendent of Schools.

Upon a majority vote of its members, the Board may convene in executive session to discuss matters where premature public disclosure might be detrimental to the operation of the school system (such as, discussion of possible lease of property), or where public disclosure might violate an individual’s right to privacy (such as, certain personnel problems); or any other topic(s) permitted by law.

Formal action or vote on such matters as disciplinary charges against an employee and findings and/or placement of students by CSE may only be taken by the Board during an executive session. No formal action or vote may be taken to appropriate moneys during an executive session. The Board shall reconvene in open session to take final action on other matters discussed, and to adjourn the meeting.

Minutes of executive sessions will reflect all actions and votes taken by the Board in executive session without personally identifying employees or students affected thereby. The name of the person who called for the executive session will also appear in the minutes of the public meeting.

The Board may permit staff and other persons whose presence is deemed necessary or appropriate to attend an executive session or any part thereof

Ref: Education Law §~l708; 3020-a
Open Meetings Law, Public Officers Law, §~100 et seq.
Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Part 84
Opinion of Counsel No. 239, 16 EDR 457 (1976)
Matter of Thomas,
10 EDR 108 (1971)
Matter of Spinik, 25
EDR 310 (19~6)
Matter of Kursch v. Board of Educ.,
7 AD 2d 922 (1959)
Muller
oJ5aniui v. Linde,:hurst Board of Educ., 58 NY 2d 626 (1982)
2360, Minutes

Adopted: July 1, 1999

 

EXHIBIT "11"

FREEPORT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT

Policy 2360

MINUTES

The Freeport Union Free School District Board of Education believes that open and accurate communication regarding its internal operations enhances the district’s public relations program and provides a record of the district’s progress towards its annual goals.

Therefore, the Board will maintain a set of minutes of each meeting. Such minutes shall constitute the official record of proceedings of the Board and shall be open to public inspection within one week of executive sessions and within two weeks of all other meetings.

All motions, proposals, resolutions, and any other matters formally voted upon by the Board shall be recorded in Board minutes. In recording such votes, the names of the Board members shall be listed in alphabetical order, and the record shall indicate the final vote of each Board member.

If a Board member is not present at the opening of a meeting, the subsequent arrival time of such member shall be indicated in the minutes.

A draft of the minutes of each meeting is to be forwarded to each member of the Board not later than the time the agenda for the next meeting is disseminated.

Minutes are public documents and thus shall be open to inspection by the public.

Ref: Education Law §2121
Freedom of Information Law, Public Officers Law, §~84 et seq.
Open Meeting Law, Public Officers Law, §~l00 et seq.
1120, School District Records

Adopted: July 1, 1999

 

EXHIBIT "12"

FREEPORT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT

              Policy 2160

SCHOOL BOARD CODE OF ETHICS

The Freeport Union Free School District Board of Education recognizes that sound ethical standards of conduct serve to increase the effectiveness of school board members and their staff as educational leaders in their community. Actions based on an ethical code of conduct promote public confidence and the attainment of district goals. The Board also recognizes its obligation to set forth a code of ethics under the provisions of the General Municipal law.

The Board therefore adopts the following code of ethics and its accompanying regulation for the guidance of its officers and employees. Board members and their staff commit themselves to:

• ASSURING the opportunity for high quality education for every student and making the well-being of students the fundamental principle in a! decisions and actions

• REPRESENTING the entire community without fear or favor

ACCEPTING all responsibilities as a means of unselfish service, while not using their positions for personal gain

• ACTING as part of an educational team with mutual respect and regard for each other’s respective responsibilities and duties recognizing that the strength of a school board is in acting as a board, not as individuals

• PRESERVING the obligation of having all issues considered fairly and without bias

UPHOLDING the principles of due process and individual dignity, and protecting the civil and human rights of all

• MAINTAINING high standards and the effectiveness of education through research and continuing professional development

OBEYING all national, state and local laws and regulations pertaining to education and public agencies

INSTILLING respect for community, state and nation.

Ref: General Municipal Law §806

Matter of Guilderland Central School District, 23 EDR 262 (1984) Matter of Murphy, 17 EDR 462 (1978)

Adopted: July 1, 1999

 

 

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