Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Certain issues that the Commissioner of Education will decline to consider "for lack of jurisdiction"

Appeal of C.Z. from actions of the Board of Education of the Jordan-Elbridge Central School District, et. al.
Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision No. 16,450
In this appeal to the Commissioner of Education C.Z. contended that certain alleged actions by school board members were “inappropriate and/or in violation of the Education Law and theEducational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA].”  C.Z asked the Commissioner to issue an order admonishing the board members.
The Commissioner, stating that he lacked jurisdiction to consider FERPA claims, dismissed this branch of C.Z.’s appeal. The Commissioner explained that “The United States Secretary of Education, not the Commissioner, has jurisdiction over alleged FERPA violations (20 U.S.C. §1232[g]).

The Commissioner also dismissed that portion of C.Z. appeal that, in the words of the Commissioner, “attempts to allege violations of the Open Meetings Law through her claims that [the school board] declined to allow her to attend and to discuss certain issues at an executive session." The Commissioner noted that the §107 of the Public Officer Law “vests exclusive jurisdiction over complaints alleging violations of the Open Meetings Law in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and alleged violations thereof may not be adjudicated in an appeal to the Commissioner.”
As to the redress sought, admonition of certain members of the school board, The Commissioner noted that it is “well established” that the Commissioner of Education does not have  members any authority to censure or reprimand a board member.
The decision is posted on the Internet at:
Reprinted with permission New York Public Personnel Law
Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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