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Lawsuit involves superintendent, school board

by jmaloni
Thu, Oct 27th 2011 04:00 pm

by Janet Schultz

Cut short by a power outage at its Oct. 19 meeting, the Niagara-Wheatfield Board of Education passed a resolution naming Harris Beach PLLC, as its attorney in a lawsuit filed against them by Superintendent of Schools Carl Militello.

The case, which because of litigation could not be discussed, stems from the board's actions revolving around Militello's contract.

According to board member Christopher Peters, the board just learned of the lawsuit, which had been filed the previous week. The issue pertains to the length of the contract.

The action drew discussion on what should or should not be discussed in executive session.

Board member David Breier stated that he wanted to be transparent with the residents of the district.

 "People are owed answers," said Brier. "Everyone has lawyers so we can't say anything, but in the end everyone will get to say their piece."

It was determined that night that the board would go into executive session to discuss the matter, plus one other personnel issue, when the lights on campus went out and it was decided the balance of the meeting would be tabled for safety reasons.

Prior to that the board also passed a resolution to hire a financial consultant/advisor to review, analyze and make recommendations to the board regarding the district's financial and budgetary decisions during the last four years.

Dr. Richard A. Hitzges was named after a search conducted by members of the board. In relation to the hiring of Hitzges, the board tabled a motion to accept the external audit for the period ending June 30, 2011.

The board also passed fundraiser requests for several school clubs and the scheduled trip by the softball team to Disney World in April. Board member Michael Brock cast the only opposition vote to the trip. The Disney trip is funded by the students.

Speaking during privilege of the floor portion of the meeting were numerous parents and supporters of the music program seeking the answer of whether transportation would be available to the county and state music festivals.

Music Parents Club President Jennifer Deering was told the funding for transportation was denied, as were all field trips. She explained these are not field trips, but competitions with students being graded.

Militello responded to her and several other supporters of the music program, that music was important to the school and that the transportation funding was in place and he apologized for any inconvenience caused.

The balance of the Oct. 19 agenda will be acted upon at the Nov. 2 meeting of the board.

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