Secretary Challenges Board

Posted: September 05, 1991

The secretary of the Laurel Springs school board, who is being fired as of Sept. 27, is challenging the board's right to fire her, a state education official said last week.

Doris Walsh, who has been school board secretary for 14 years, filed a petition Aug. 21 with the state commissioner of education, arguing that she has tenure and cannot be let go without just cause.

Walsh's firing, which the board approved in late July, takes effect Sept. 27.

At the Aug. 21 meeting, school board Solicitor Jeffrey I. Baron said he did not believe Walsh had tenure under state law.

Neither board President Raymond Rupertus nor Walsh would comment on the reason for her firing. Rupertus said no board member could discuss the matter

because it was in litigation.

The school board has until Tuesday to answer Walsh's challenge, said Seymour Weiss, the director of the New Jersey Department of Education Bureau of Controversies and Disputes.

Baron, addressing the board Aug. 21, said the petition would be answered, but he did not say whether he would represent the board in the matter.

If there is a case, Weiss said, it will be referred to an administrative law judge. After the judge reaches a decision, Weiss said, his office will write a recommendation to the state commissioner of education, who makes the final decision.

Walsh was board secretary during the period when the board dismissed popular school Superintendent Elaine S. Wallenburg. A so-called "overthrow slate" ousted five of those board members in the April 30 election.

Wallenburg was reinstated as superintendent for a two-year term at the Aug. 21 board meeting.

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