Ethics Complainant alleged that the board president acted in a manner that was not truthful with the public when she “intentionally” left a discussion off of the agenda regarding Chromebooks. It is alleged that the board president was being knowingly untruthful with the public by not addressing this issue when it was intending to do so. The School Ethics Commission granted the respondent’s motion to dismiss finding no evidence sufficient to find a violation that the board president was intentionally misleading the public or being untruthful. Enny v. Wolfe, SEC 2019: Feb. 2.
Complainant alleged that school board member told a parent/member of the public that “you should be worried about your bad ass kids” and repeated same when the parent asked the board member what he had just said. It is alleged that this comment was made during the public comment period of a board meeting. Respondent denied making the comments. The ALJ and SEC held that even if the comments had been made, the specific ethics provisions would not have been violated. Neither the ALJ nor the SEC made a determination on whether the comment was actually said at a public meeting. Ultimately, the SEC granted the motion to dismiss and found the complainant did not allege facts sufficient to state a claim that a violation had occurred. 1/23/2019: Jones v. Tunstall
Fairfield Twp had a shared services agreement with Fairfield School District to allow the Township to use school district property for Twp. activities. It was agreed that the Twp. would be responsible for doing all of its own hiring and to insure property criminal background checks. It was alleged that the school board member/board president failed to apply for a criminal background check for a recreation volunteer in contravention of N.J.S.A. 18A:6-7.1. However, consistent with the shared services agreement, the Township Administrator did submit a criminal history background check for this volunteer and no negative results were found. However results for two volunteers working under the volunteer did result in negative findings. It is alleged that the Board President knew of the findings and failed to run the required background checks. The ALJ dismissed the case and SEC upheld the ALJ’s decision. 2/26/2019: Kimley v. Kennedy
Complainant, a school board member filed an ethics complaint against the Superintendent alleging that the the Superintendent was aware that another board member was running an unlicensed day camp, resulting in child neglect and causing false public alarm. It was alleged that the Superintendent had a business interest in the day camp and thus did not report the alleged illegal behavior. Complainant also alleged that the Superintendent called complainant’s boss (Superintendent in another district) and made “unsubstantiated allegations” against her. The School Ethics Commission granted Respondents motion to dismiss and dismissed both counts as lacking sufficient evidence to state a claim. The SEC held that multiple investigations were completed non of which implicated respondent in any wrongdoing. Smith v. Kravitz, SEC, 2019: Jan. 22.
Commission dismissed complaint where no copy of a final decision from any court of law or other administrative agency was provided that demonstrated that board member violated a specific law, rule, or regulation by using district facilities to operate a day camp or by raising a false public alarm when reporting that an intruder entered the building causing the camp to go into lock down mode.
SEC dismissed count of complaint alleging that board member used the schools for a personal gain in violation of 18A:12-24.1(f) by running a non-profit enterprise on board property while soliciting funds for that enterprise through a “GoFundMe” campaign. No evidence provided that board member, in her capacity as a board member, used the schools to secure a benefit to herself or her husband.
SEC found no evidence that board member failed to make decision in terms of the educational welfare of students, or operated a day camp in an unhealthy environment. in violation of 18A:12-24.1(b), when the day camp she was operating in district schools allegedly failed to follow state guidelines regarding student/teacher ratios, criminal background checks an fingerprinting requirements. No evidence presented that board member’s interest in the day camp was in her capacity as a board member or that the day camp had any relation to the board. Complaint dismissed. Smith v. Midgette-David, SEC 2019: Feb. 26.