New York Disciplinary Process Defense Attorneys for Directors, Trustees and School Board Members

Although there is no authority for a school board or the Commissioner of Education to reprimand or censure a school board member, a member may be removed for a willful violation, neglect of duty, or willfully disobeying a decision, law, regulation, or order of the Commissioner or Board of Regents. This information is contained in Educ. Law §§ 306, 1706, 2559; see 8 NYCRR Part 277.

By definition, willful means a school board member’s action must have been driven by an “intention with a wrongful purpose” to ignore a lawful duty or violate a legal requirement. Actions a board member or director took in good faith or after consulting with counsel should not be the basis for removal. 

It is important to note that removal from office is a drastic remedy directly affecting one’s career. At the Brill Legal Group, we take nothing for granted and look at every possibility to right a perceived wrong. Procedures for the presentation and defense of these types of appeals and the conduct of proceedings for the removal of school officials can be found in the regulations of the Commissioner of Education.

Common Situations When a School Board Member Can Be Removed

To be clear, a school board can remove a member for official misconduct relating to the member’s official duties. The removal could happen if a board member uses his or her power in an unauthorized way or intentionally fails to use said power to the detriment of the district. There have also been instances where a board member did not act in a certain way (referred to as an affirmative duty), such as taking and completing required fiscal training within a year of becoming a board member. 

Another example of a situation that could result in the censure or dismissal of a board member is revealing confidential student identification numbers. Such an action may result in a violation of the duty of confidentiality and a breach of duties to the board as a whole. 

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the board member may also face being removed from the board. For this, and other reasons, the experienced attorneys at the Brill Legal Group look at every disciplinary case from all angles. We leave no stone unturned to ensure your legal rights are protected. 

There may even be instances where it appears that confidential information relating to collective bargaining or other critical issues is released without authorization which may constitute a willful violation of the law. Removal of the board member who leaked such information would be according to Education Law § 306.

Education Law 306 states, “Whenever it shall be proved to his satisfaction that any trustee, member of a board of education, clerk, collector, treasurer, district superintendent, superintendent of schools or other school officials. . . have been guilty of any wilful violation or neglect of duty … or any other act pertaining to common schools or other educational institution participating in state funds, or wilfully disobeying any decision, order, rule or regulation of the regents or the commissioner of education … after a hearing at which the school official shall have the right of representation by counsel, may … remove such officer from his office.”

Contact the Brill Legal Group Today

The Brill Legal Group, P.C., partners with clients facing Regents proceedings, Commissioner’s appeals and Public Employees Relations Board (PERB) issues to effectively reach the best possible outcomes. We are prepared to pull out all the stops to help you retain your job or position.

Contact our New York State Commissioner of Education appeals and PERB attorneys today at the Brill Legal Group to discuss legal representation for board members, trustees, directors and other public officers. Our public official disciplinary charges lawyers are available to provide an initial no-cost evaluation of the legal issues you may face.

Just when I was getting discouraged and was at my wits end trying to find the right attorney for my case, a family member recommended Mr. Brill. He did not disappoint. Mr. Brill and his team are diligent, very professional, encouraging and honest every step of the way. Highly recommended.

- A.S.