She denied the harassment claims, describing Smith’s report as “one-sided,” and maintained that she simply asked questions that needed to be answered, exercising her right to seek information as a trustee. She added that she strove to improve the Malverne district by directly communicating with residents and staff after she was elected in 2009, and by investigating board decisions and publicizing issues through local and social media. In 2010, according to Genti, the board approved policies that restricted members from discussing its agenda with the media.
In addition, she said, the board granted only two of 14 Freedom of Information Law requests she submitted to gain access to what she described as public information.
“When you live in a school district that has placed in the … highest tax tier in Nassau County but in the lowest quartile of academic performance, you can tell there is a disconnect that needs to be addressed,” Genti said, adding, “My questions were mainly about financial aspects, and the residents who elected me wanted those answers.”
The results of Smith’s investigation were not made public. Genti said that the board prohibited her from seeing the documentation of the investigation, denied her requests for information from school personnel and excluded her participation at the board meeting in March at which board members accepted Smith’s report.
Genti’s court petition described the board’s resolution to accept the investigation’s findings as a violation of the Open Meetings Law and the Public Officers Law. If granted by the court, the petition would have set aside the board’s decision and restored all of her duties on the board.
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