Two Niagara Falls educators terminated last year for violating the school district's residency policy have been ordered reinstated to their jobs by a state Supreme Court judge.
Judge Ralph A. Boniello III, in a ruling handed down Friday, also declared the district's residency policy "unenforceable." Joseph Catalano, president of the Niagara Falls Teachers union, called the ruling a "huge win."
Besides reinstatement, educators Roxanne Adrian and Keli Koran-Luchey are to receive back pay and benefits retroactive to Sept. 25, 2009, according to the ruling. Adrian, a high school English teacher, and Luchey, a school counselor, were represented in the case by NYSUT.
The Niagara Gazette reported Monday that Boniello's decision marks the fourth time in five cases in which a Supreme Court judge has found the Niagara Falls school district overstepped its boundaries in firing an employee for violating its residency policy.
"NYSUT is pleased with the outcome," the statewide union said in a statement. "The board's failure to objectively define 'residency,' and the superintendent's failure to adopt and implement guidelines and procedures, led to the policy being inconsistently applied," the union said in a statement.