May 11, 2011

Determining if a §3014-b “takeover of an education program” occurred

Determining if a §3014-b “takeover of an education program” occurred
In the Matter of Elizabeth G. Quattrone v NYS Department of Education, 37 A.D.3d 939

Elizabeth G. Quattrone, a tenured teacher employed by Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), was assigned to teach gifted and talented students at various component school districts.

Quattrone was told that her position was being “excessed due to lack of interest in the gifted and talented program” after the Chautauqua Lake Central School District and Dunkirk City School District cancelled their BOCES contracts for gifted and talented services. Quattrone’s name was placed on a preferred eligible list for reinstatement to appropriate vacancies at both Chautauqua Lake and Dunkirk but she was never thereafter contacted by either for employment.

Alleging that, in fact, both school districts “took-over” the functions formerly performed by her and assigned the work to other teachers without offering her such available employment, Quattrone appealed “her non-selection for the position” to the Commissioner of Education.

Quattrone contended that she had a legal right to employment with the school districts pursuant to Education Law §3014-b upon their “taking-over” the former BOCES program.

Finding that there was no “take-over” that would trigger the provisions of §3014-b, the Commissioner dismissed Quattrone’s appeal.

The Appellate Division sustained the Commissioner’s determination, stating “Upon our examination of these factors, we conclude that petitioner failed to establish that a takeover occurred by either Chautauqua Lake or Dunkirk City.” Among the reasons given for its decision, the Appellate Division noted that:

1. Chautauqua Lake, while it did develop an enrichment program following its discontinuance of the BOCES gifted and talented program, “the two programs were simply not equivalent.” Unlike the BOCES program, the enrichment program paralleled general classroom instruction and featured field trips and classroom presentation components.

2. Dunkirk City, following its discontinuance of the BOCES gifted and talented program, it had no program whatsoever earmarked for gifted and talented education but rather embedded such education into their general curriculum and within the regular classroom setting.

3. Neither school district hired a new teacher to replace petitioner following discontinuance of their BOCES contracts.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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