School board denies tenure to teaching assistant

Published Jun 19, 2017 at 4:00pm

A Rome school district teaching assistant has been denied tenure and had her services terminated by the Board of Education in a 7-1 vote following a closed executive session.

The board’s vote Thursday night regarding probationary teaching assistant Brandi Smaldon, effective at the end of her probationary term on June 30, came after a resolution for the move was tabled during the regular meeting. Voting against the tenure denial and termination of services was Karen Fontana, who later would not comment on her vote. Absent was board member Jacqueline Favata.

Fontana said prior to the resolution’s tabling that “I don’t think we have complete information to make a decision.”

Member Louis Daniello then suggested it be put on hold until it could be discussed in an executive session; a session already was scheduled for other topics at the end of the regular meeting agenda.

The closed executive session lasted about 20 minutes before the board resumed its open meeting portion and voted on the Smaldon resolution. The board then returned to an executive session with no further open meeting portion. The school district’s reasons for the Smaldon resolution were not discussed.

Smaldon said Saturday that her attorney was handling the matter, and she did not want to comment at this time.

She has been a teaching assistant in the district for four years, including at Strough Middle School and in the early childhood program, said district Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

Tenure, typically considered after a probationary period, guarantees due process in the event that dismissal charges are faced.

It is also is considered in future assignments.