TODAY'S PAPER
57° Good Afternoon
57° Good Afternoon
Long IslandNassau

Westbury school board members battle for legitimacy

Dr. Pless Dickerson makes a statement regarding his

Dr. Pless Dickerson makes a statement regarding his position on the board during a school board meeting Thursday night. (July 22, 2010) Credit: Jessica Rotkiewicz

Members of one faction of the Westbury Board of Education insisted they are the only legitimate board that exists in the school district and said they will work for the betterment of all students.

"The status of the board of education is beyond question," said board president Pless Dickerson at the meeting last night, asserting its legitimacy.

Dickerson and former board president Karin Campbell, who remains a trustee on the board, both claim they are the leaders of the Westbury School Board.

In June, three board members, including Dickerson, were ousted from their seats for missing three consecutive meetings without a valid excuse, a move some called political.

Records show that Dickerson, also interim superintendent in Wyandanch, had received a stay from the state education commissioner to keep his seat pending an appeal.

Dickerson said that state education officials have acknowledged the board that met last night. He said a court has rejected restraining orders by Campbell's group for them to stop business.

New York State education officials declined to comment yesterday, saying litigation regarding the Westbury board is pending in Albany Supreme Court.

Board vice president Rodney Caines, who attended last night's meeting, said Thursday that Campbell "is seeking to preserve the status quo and subvert the will of the people by denying us the seats on the board we were elected to fill."

Campbell issued a statement Thursday before the meeting, stating that there was no official board meeting and the next meeting will be July 30 to consider the contract of superintendent Constance Clark Snead.

The statement was signed by Campbell and board members Rocco Lanzilotta and Stanton Brown, both of whom did not attend last night's meeting.

Earlier this month, Campbell called a board meeting where she rescheduled the organizational meeting to be held July 14. Dickerson said that was not a legal meeting.

On July 7, the newcomers and Dickerson held a swearing in ceremony that Campbell, Lanzilotta and Stanton Brown did not attend. Dickerson was made president and Caines, vice president.

A week later, Campbell, Lanzilotta and Brown held their own reorganizational meeting in the high school parking lot. She also has said that the three newcomers were sworn in illegally.

However, Tom Rogers, superintendent of Nassau BOCES, who also is the commissioner's district representative, cited the Public Officer's law, that the three board members elected in May "now constitute the new members of the Board of Education."

Court papers were filed last week to restrain Dickerson and any of the newly elected board members from taking any district action.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.