CARS HOMES JOBS

Gloversville school board members petition state to oust president

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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— A majority faction on the Gloversville Enlarged School District Board of Education has filed a petition with the state seeking to oust the elected board president for alleged misconduct.

The petition signed and notarized by five board members was sent to the state Education Department last week; it also was served on board President Peter Semione, said board member Joseph Andrews.

“It was done in the amount of time given the circumstances,” Andrews said.

A spokeswoman for the state Education Department said it cannot yet release the petition to the public, as it remains incomplete.

“The file for the petition you have inquired about is not complete. Once complete, a copy may be provided to you,” Antonia Valentine said.

Semione has until Dec. 17 to respond to the petition, Valentine said. After that date, the state commissioner of education could issue a ruling on whether Semione committed misconduct and should be removed.

When contacted Tuesday, Semione said he had no comment on the petition.

“It is a legal matter and is in the hands of the lawyers. No one should be commenting,” he said.

The majority faction alleges Semione committed misconduct by bullying and threatening at least three board members — Andrews, Vice President Frank Carangelo and member Polly Peck — when they tried to get answers as to why a music teacher was transferred from the high school to the middle school.

The transfer sparked community anger, which spilled out at a board meeting during the summer. Andrews said Semione made the decision without full board input.

The faction said Semione violated Section 306 of the Education Law, which allows the commissioner to remove a board member for gross misconduct.

The board elected Semione at the July organizational meeting to his fourth one-year term as president. He has been a board member for seven years. In prior interviews, he denied the allegations and called the move to petition him off the board a power play.

The majority faction of the school board in late October hired the Rose Law Firm of Little Falls at a cost of $150 per hour, with no cap on the number of hours to be provided, to put together the petition. Andrews said he does not know how much Rose will charge for the petition work.

 
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