• Summary of the Proceedings of the Cambridge Central School District’s Article 78 Appeal

    Posted on May 18, 2022

    On March 23, 2022, the Cambridge Central School District and Board of Education of the Cambridge Central School District filed an Article 78 Appeal seeking judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of Education’s regarding the Board’s actions concerning the continued use of the District’s “Indians” team name and imagery. In its Appeal, Cambridge presented the following arguments: 

    (1) the Commissioner’s decision was arbitrary and capricious in that it ignored, misapplied, and/or misinterpreted facts presented by the District; 

    (2) the Commissioner’s decision was arbitrary and capricious in that it was affected by errors of law such as the Commissioner failed to properly address the District’s argument that petitioners lacked standing to bring their appeal to the Commissioner; the Commissioner did not rationally consider her prior decisions concerning a school board’s right to reverse a prior decision; and 

    (3) the Commissioner did not have the authority to order the District to cease use of the “Indians” nickname and imagery. 

    As part of its Appeal, Cambridge sought both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction, which would prevent the Commissioner’s order from being enforced during the pendency of the Appeal. The request for a temporary restraining order was denied by Hon. Denise Hartman on March 25, 2022.

    On April 19, 2022, the Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the Commissioner of Education, filed an Answer and Memorandum of Law in opposition to the District’s Appeal. In response to the District’s arguments, it was asserted that: the District failed to state a legal claim; the Commissioner’s decision was rational; the Commissioner correctly determined that the Cambridge Board’s July 8, 2021 resolution was arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion; the Commissioner correctly determined that the petitioners had standing; and that the District should not be granted a preliminary injunction. 

    On April 21, 2022, the District submitted a Reply to the Answer. In the Reply, the District asserted that the District has stated a legal claim for which relief must be granted and the Commissioner’s decision was arbitrary and capricious, ignored or misapplied facts in an irrational way, and was affected by errors in law. 

    On April 22, 2022, Hon. Sarah McGinty was assigned to preside over the Cambridge Article 78. The District’s request for a preliminary injunction and other relief remains before her at this time.  The District is now awaiting a decision from the Judge reviewing the matter.  Contrary to a recent article published in the Times Union, counsel for the District has received no indication from the Court as to when a decision will be issued.