Merenstein v. NYC Board of Education

NEW YORK COUNTY
Schools and Education

New York Law Journal

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Justice Lucy Billings

Merenstein, a tenured teacher, alleged she was reassigned to another school despite the dismissal of disciplinary charges against her. She argued the reassignment decision was arbitrary and violated the Education Law. New York City's Board of Education moved for dismissal, contending a failure to state a claim for relief. The board noted the Children's First Network (CFN) was delegated the power to transfer teachers from one school to another by the chancellor. The petition alleged that when CFN issued the reassignment decision, the CFN leader was Orpromalla, the local instructional superintendent for Merenstein's prior school, who issued an unsatisfactory evaluation to Merenstein serving as the grounds for the disciplinary charges against her. He also testified at petitioner's administrative hearing. The court noted even if it assumed the chancellor delegated his reassignment power to CFN, such facts showed he delegated the authority to determine Merenstein's fate, after the disciplinary proceedings, to the initiator of such proceedings creating a perception undermining the impartiality of the decision to reassign Merenstein and stating a claim the determination was arbitrary, requiring vacatur and remand.

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