New Your State School Boards Association

Media Backgrounder: NYS School Board Member Removal Process


FOR RELEASE: June 20, 2017

CONTACT:
David Albert (518) 783-3716
Al Marlin (518) 527-6933
@nyschoolboards

   
  1. How is a school board member removed from office?
    A board member may be removed from office either by the commissioner of education or the school board. A school board’s authority to remove one of its members from office is separate and distinct from the commissioner’s authority to remove a board member. A school board member removed from office may not be appointed or elected to any district office for one year from the date of his or her removal.

  2. Under what circumstances may the commissioner of education remove a school board member?
    The commissioner of education may remove a school board member from office for the willful violation or neglect of duty, or the willful disobedience of a law or a decision, order, or regulation of the commissioner or rule of the Board of Regents.

    To be considered willful, a school board member’s actions must have been “intentional and with a wrongful purpose” to disregard a lawful duty or violate a legal requirement. For example, the commissioner has removed a board member for behavior that interfered with the board’s ability to function in a situation where that board member threatened and initiated a physical altercation with another board member during a board meeting. The disruptive behavior must occur during a board meeting and disrupt the meeting or interfere with the board’s ability to function to warrant removal.

  3. What is the process for removing a school board member?
    The removal may take place only after a hearing on the charges either before the board of education or the commissioner of education. A written copy of the charges must be served at least 10 days before the hearing. The board member must be afforded a “full and fair opportunity to refute such charges before removal.”

  4. May a school board member resign from office?
    A school board member may resign at an annual or special school district meeting, or by filing a written resignation with the district superintendent, which becomes effective only upon the approval of the district superintendent and the filing of the resignation with the school district clerk. Alternatively, a school board member may resign under the Public Officers Law by filing a written resignation with the district. A successor may not be appointed or elected until after the resignation becomes effective.

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