Jordan-Elbridge school board has suspended principal escorted off campus

Six Jordan-Elbridge school board members and interim superintendent Larry Zacher walked out of their own meeting last night, Wednesday Jan. 19, after suspended principal David Zehner was escorted off the campus by an Onondaga County sheriffs deputy when he refused to yield the floor.

Zehner was suggesting ways for the district to save well over $1 million in the upcoming budget year when board members motioned to the police officer. Zehner proposed the district drop all 3020-a charges against him and suspended Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Bill Hamilton, all of which he contends are frivolous, and return them to their positions in the district.

Zehner also suggested the district return Sue Gorton to her job as Special Education Director, and ask Marilyn Dominick, who was forced to retire early, to return as superintendent.

"I understand that [Dominick] offered to do so for the salary of $30,000 a year, saving the district $120,000 over the cost of Dr. Zacher," Zehner's proposal reads.

The board claimed that Zehner exceeded his five-minute limit during the public comments section, but Jarrod Smith, a lawyer representing residents in the district, said Zehner should have been allowed more time since others yielded their speaking time to him.

Zehner claimed the board set him up in an attempt to gain some public sympathy.

"They didn't really care what I had to say at all, they were just waiting for my 5 minutes to be up so they could get rid of me," he said. Zehner said at least two other residents were allowed to speak longer than five minutes during the meeting.

As Zacher and board members Jeanne Pieklik, Roger Hill, Diana Foote, Erica O'Brien, Mary Alley and Penny Feeney walked out, three board members remained in the meeting held in the high school cafeteria -- Connie Drake, Brian Richardson and Michael Jorolemon.

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