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Buffalo School Board expected to make final decision to file petition to remove Paladino

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-16 18:27:38-05

The effort to remove Carl Paladino from the Buffalo School Board continues to move forward.  The Board is expected to make a final decision to file the necessary petition with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) at its meeting on Wednesday.

Monday, dozens of parents, children and elected officials rallied at MLK Park in Buffalo calling on the State Commissioner of Education to remove Paladino from his position.  The outrage stems from controversial comments Paladino made regarding the outgoing president and first lady.

"I'm so affected by it that I can't be quiet anymore," said Lauren Makeyenko.  She brought her daughter to the rally.  "I have to be out here showing that I support the community and he doesn't have a place on our school board."

The agenda for Wednesday's public meeting includes a "Resolution Authorizing Petition".  Frank Miller, the Syracuse-based attorney hired by the board to draft the petition, said he's provided the board with "various options" but it is ultimately up to them to make the final decision.

Two other groups are expected to file their own version of the petition this week.  The Buffalo Teachers Federation and the Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization both said they would have their petitions filed by the end of the week.

NYSED rules require a formal petition to be filed within 30 days of the event causing the complaint.  In this case, Paladino's comments were published in Artvoice on December 22.

"Appeals brought more than 30 days later will generally be dismissed by the Commissioner," according to NYSED's Office of Counsel.

Miller said petitions to remove a sitting school board member are "somewhat rare".  Of more than 250 court decisions involving school districts he has been involved in, only "about 6 or 8" have been to remove a board member.  Typically, Miller has been on the side representing the board member in question.

Paladino has apologized for his remarks, but has said on several occasions he will not step down from the school board.