3 new members change face of Pleasantville school board

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Pleasantville Public Schools Business Administrator Dennis Mulvihill administers the oath of office to incoming school board members, from left, Tony Davenport, Jerome Page and Michael Bright. Pleasantville Public Schools Business Administrator Dennis Mulvihill administers the oath of office to incoming school board members, from left, Tony Davenport, Jerome Page and Michael Bright.

 

PLEASANTVILLE – Three new Board of Education members took the oath of office Tuesday, Jan. 8, including Jerome Page, a day after a trespassing charge against him was dismissed.

Page, Tony Davenport and Michael Bright were sworn in at the school board’s annual reorganization meeting held at Pleasantville High School.

Board member Darleen Bey-Blocker was selected as the new board president, replacing Doris Graves, who failed to win re-election in November after a 25-year run on the board.

Bey-Blocker has served on the board since 2006.

Board member Joanne Famularo was selected as board vice president, replacing Melanie Griffin, who also failed to win re-election.

Page’s place on the board seemed in limbo until 3 p.m. Monday, when Superior Court Judge William Todd III ruled in his favor on a trespassing charge filed against him by Pleasantville Schools Superintendent Garnell Bailey.

The charges stemmed from a Jan. 2 incident in which Page said he and Bright had made an appointment to speak with Elisha Thompkins, district director of finance, about the upcoming reorganization meeting.

When Page and Bright arrived at the Middle School, they received a pass to allow them access to the district administrative offices on the third floor.

Page and Bailey both said that Bailey questioned Page about his reason for being in the office when she found him talking to Thompkins. They also agreed that she said the employees work for her, and all appointments need to go through her office.

After that, descriptions of the incident vary.

Page testified in court documents that he had an appointment with Thompkins; however, in his written statement, Thompkins denied having made an appointment with Page.

Page said he conducted himself cordially while in the building, and that as a taxpayer and board member, he believed he had a right to be in the building.

Bailey claims he “finagled” a pass to the third floor and became “aggressive” when she confronted him. She said Page wouldn’t leave when she told him he was trespassing and she would be calling the police.

“I felt extremely threatened,” Bailey stated in court documents.

She said Page’s comments were heard by other staff members, while Page testified that the conversation occurred in Thompkins’ office.

Bright left the building without incident, according to Bailey’s statement.

Navarro W. Gray of the firm of Hunt, Hamlin and Ridley, attorney for the school district, cited a state statute that says district employees can’t work if there are pending charges against them.

Page said the charge was dismissed for lack of evidence.

Bailey declined comment at the board meeting, citing ongoing litigation, and did not participate in a closed-door executive session in which Page was present.

Page said the case may still be heard before the state Education Department.


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