For the second time in two weeks, a taxpayer-group backed Williamsville School Board member has resigned.
William Paluch stepped down Tuesday night, saying that he was disgusted with the board's ethics. The move was not a complete surprise because earlier this summer Paluch put his home up for sale and pulled his children out of the district.
"I cannot serve in good conscience with people of such little integrity," he said after walking out of the meeting.
Paluch said he was sickened by the board's reluctance to investigate allegations that teachers used class time for political purposes during the School Board election this May. While the nine-member board hasn't launched an investigation, the district staff is still looking into the charges.
In addition, a petition is pending before the state commissioner of education to rule on the allegations that teachers violated state education laws. Paluch also had a problem with how some board members treated former board member Ralph J. Argen.
Argen resigned at the last meeting, saying there was a conspiracy to drive him out of office. Other board members said what he experienced was just part of public life and serving on a sharply divided school board.
Argen's resignation was prompted by a meeting with the school district's attorney, Karl W. Kristoff. He told Argen shortly before the Aug. 31 meeting that the board would meet in executive session to discuss what to do about his disclosing confidential information.
Argen released a legal opinion from Kristoff that the board received in executive session and that was stamped confidential. He gave it to three losing School Board candidates, a violation of the board's policy. They used it against the district in their appeal to the state commissioner of education to overturn the election.
Instead of waiting to see what the board would do or fighting the charge, Argen resigned before the meeting.
"I'd like to know who voted on this and where," Paluch asked the board. "This is a clear violation of state law."
School Board President Sharon Harris-Ewing said that she and the board's vice president, Lee W. Zimmerman, told Kristoff to meet with Argen. No vote was taken because it was a decision the two made while putting together that meeting's agenda.
"Out of respect for Dr. Argen we notified him this might be talked about," said Mrs. Harris-Ewing. "We didn't do anything wrong."
Before Argen and Paluch resigned the board was divided between four taxpayer group-backed members and five backed by the teachers union and PTA.
With Argen and Paluch's resignation, there is only one die-hard taxpayer-backed board member left -- Ken Smith. Board member Barry S. Eckert was backed by taxpayer groups during his campaign but has proved to be more moderate than the other three.
The board had voted to begin a search to appoint someone to fill Argen's position. The board has not decided how to handle Paluch's resignation.