State: Kings Park school trustee can't be removed

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The state Education Department has ruled that a Kings Park school board trustee cannot be removed from the panel.

The Education Department, in a ruling issued Oct. 5 and signed by Commissioner John B. King Jr., said a petition by the school board to remove trustee Liz Barrett was not filed within 30 days of a complaint alleging she had improperly discussed a student during private conversations with a friend.

In addition, King ruled that the school board had failed to reply to Barrett within the necessary 10 business days after she filed an appeal with the education department.

Barrett's attorney, David Sobotkin, said Barrett is pleased with the ruling and intends to remain on the board. He declined further comment.

The school board in June voted 3-2 to remove Barrett for allegedly breaking confidentiality rules. School board members are barred from sharing confidential information they learned from their service on the board.

In July, Barrett was voted unanimously to be the board's vice president.

Board President Marie Goldstein could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

Kings Park Superintendent Susan Agruso said Friday the board would discuss the Education Department's ruling. "We're reading it and reviewing it and determining what our next steps will be," she said.

Barrett, who works as a flight attendant, was elected in 2010 to a three-year term. She has declined to publicly discuss the allegations.

Her attorneys have said she violated no confidentiality laws. The attorneys also said the school board made procedural errors, contending that an initial vote for Barrett's ouster came during a portion of a meeting that was not open to the public. The board later took another vote on Barrett's removal, during a public session.

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