NEWBURGH – The Newburgh School Board will attempt to remove Darren Stridiron, a vocal member of the board minority. He was one of just three members who voted against a two-year golden parachute that allows Superintendent Dr. Roberto Padilla to maintain his full salary and benefits, plus $10,000 a year described only as “other.”
Padilla is now classified as on a leave of absence for 23 months, as per the deal approved by a 6-3 board vote during a special meeting held on New Year’s Eve day.
Stridiron has continually challenged Padilla and the board of education’s decisions. At Friday’s session, he stated publicly that fellow board members bullied and threatened him repeatedly during closed-door executive sessions but said they “didn’t have the balls” to do it in public.
The latest maneuver by the board majority to silence their critic came in a recent e-mail to Stridiron from the board’s attorney, David Shaw. “The Board President asked that I reach out to you in writing to inform you that at a special meeting of the Board, consideration will be given to bringing proceedings against you for removal from your position as a member of the Board of Education,” Shaw wrote.
Stridiron told Mid-Hudson News that he asked Shaw for the charges and that “Shaw told me that the board has not created them yet.” Stridiron asked that the charges “be put in writing and for a public trial.”
School board meetings have been held virtually, but Stridiron noted that law expires on January 15.
“I want the meeting to be held at NFA Main auditorium with a packed house,” he said. “If they remove me, I will be prevented from running for the board until 2023.” Padilla’s ironclad deal has him on the payroll until November 30, 2023, unless he finds another job of comparable salary before then.
Stridiron also said since the board passed a new policy on Friday, they will strip me of my legal protection as a board member to allow anyone to sue me.”