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Lawyer explains Baldwinsville superintendent termination hearing process

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New York — A lawyer in education law has explained the process of an impartial hearing, revolving around the possible termination of Baldwinsville Superintendent Jason Thomson.

Superintendent Jason Thomson is still getting paid while he waits for the board of education’s decision on his future leading the Baldwinsville School District. Thomson has been paid $50,500 so far and counting since his suspension that began in October.

After the most recent board meeting, the Baldwinsville School District announced they will be looking for an impartial hearing officer to run a future termination proceeding.

According to Amanda Smith, an attorney from Tully and Rinckey PLLC, the hearing officer, “doesn’t necessarily have to be attorneys, there are individuals that register. There’s hearing officers, that’s kind of how a lot of education matters are dealt with.”

A hearing officer will be agreed upon by both sides. Once both sides have agreed upon an officer there will be several steps to go through the hearing. A pre-hearing will take place to go over logistics, then an official hearing, followed by a decision from the school board. Each side will be able to call on witnesses and even cross-examine them too.

However, according to Smith, termination depends on the Superintendent’s contract. “If they have a specific carve-out for termination in their contract,” Smith explained, adding “sometimes they maybe negotiate that there are certain circumstances where there’s a mutual agreement or if that superintendent wants to leave as opposed to being removed.”

Smith says the final decision has to come within 30 days of the last hearing and will be made public.

“If he’s removed, you’re definitely going to know it. They have to release that. There are also requirements where if he is removed they have to report it to the Commissioner.,” Smith said — referring to the New York State Department of Education.

When going back to Jason Thomson’s employee contract, a stipulation about a mutual agreement was found. So, a full hearing process could happen or a deal could be struck beforehand.

Smith additionally expresses that the hearings themselves will be private. But the board president says the community will know as soon as a hearing officer is chosen.

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