The closed PleasanTech Charter School in Pleasantville must give back pay and benefits to a former employee who was not offered a replacement job at the school in 2011-12, the state education commissioner has ruled.
Marc Zydiak, former administrative assistant to the chief school administrator at PleasanTech, lost his employment when that position was abolished in June 2011. Zydiak had held seven different positions at the school from September 2005 through June 2011, including supervisor of special education, and had tenure as a supervisor.
After his position was eliminated, the district advertised for a supervisor, but failed to offer that position to Zydiak. Instead, a nontenured staff member was assigned to fill that role. Zydiak filed a complaint saying his tenure and seniority rights had been violated.
A state Administrative Law Judge and the Education Commissioner Chris Cerf agreed, ruling July 30 that Zydiak should be reinstated in the supervisor position with retroactive salary and benefits. The commissioner’s decision noted that since the school closed in June, Zydiak cannot be reinstated, but the board of trustees remains obligated to provide Zydiak with retroactive salary and benefits. The exact cost was not included in the decision.
The board claimed they offered the job to Zydiak and he turned it down, and that since he took another job at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, the back payments should be mitigated.
The administrative law judge said the offer of a job was not made until April 2012, after the February hearing on the issue.
The judge also said the board provided no tangible proof that Zydiak was employed by ACIT other than a page from the school’s Web site that lists him as a science teacher, which was insufficient to prove if and when he was employed there.
PleasanTech officials were notified by the commissioner in March that its charter would not be renewed. The school closed in June. Efforts to reach anyone from the school Thursday were unsuccessful.
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