“After community outrage followed the halving of an East Ramapo school trustee’s term due to a technical error, state Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee said she plans to propose a legislative fix to return Sabrina Charles-Pierre’s seat to full term.
Charles-Pierre ran unopposed for a two-year seat that expires in June 2018, but the school board votedin late July to invalidate the term because it discovered she was not sworn in within 30 days of the May board election results being certified. Charles-Pierre was then appointed to a seat that runs out in May 2017.
Local education advocates, along with the Spring Valley NAACP and the New York Civil Liberties Union, have criticized the board and accused the district of shortchanging Charles-Pierre, a black woman representing the interests of public school parents on a board dominated by Orthodox Jewish men who send their children to private schools.
Charles-Pierre’s supporters have asked the board to give her back the seat she was elected to, or for Board President Yehuda Weissmandl to take accountability for the mistake and step down.
Neither has occurred, though the board, which has said it was only following the law, voted to file an appeal with the state Education Department. On Friday, the New York Civil Liberties Union announced it had also appealed to the state, saying, “The dysfunction, disempowerment and discrimination in East Ramapo schools has to end.”
Jaffee, D-Suffern, said she plans to propose a bill during the next legislative session in response to the concerns raised.
“Routinely, oaths of office are executed and filed before or at the commencement of a term. However, on occasion there are incidents where public officials do not execute and file the document within the required time period, triggering a vacancy or in this case, a truncated term in the position to which they were elected,” Jaffee said.
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