Something incredible happened Tuesday in the Ichabod Crane Central School District. The board of education, the crowd and the attorneys behaved with tact and insight as board members decided the immediate fate of District Superintendent Michael Vanyo.
The Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office charged Vanyo with driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a property-damage auto accident Saturday night in Saratoga Springs, and he will answer to the charges when he appears in Wilton Town Court. That’s the legal side of the story. But Tuesday night his career was in the hands of nine people meeting to administer discipline according to school district rules.
After going into executive session for more than an hour, the school board unanimously passed a resolution allowing Vanyo to take a voluntary unpaid leave of absence effective immediately and until further notice.
Ichabod Crane School Board President Matthew Nelson was right when he said the board’s response was appropriate.
“This is a legal matter that needs to follow its course,” Nelson said. “He is innocent until proven guilty and has a right to due process.”
The board’s action will keep the school free of the distraction until the matter is settled, Nelson said.
Vanyo is scheduled to return to Wilton Town Court at a later date.
To return to school, Vanyo and the board must reach a mutual agreement, Nelson said.
The board of education will face a choice once Vanyo has his day in court. The board can take additional disciplinary action against him or they can wipe the slate clean and welcome him back to the fold. The mutual agreement option is already in place for that. But that is for another day.
“The consequence is ongoing,” Nelson said Tuesday. “The end is not yet clear for the individual or us as a district.”
The board’s action Tuesday was fair and just. The board employed rational thinking instead of surrendering to emotion. In other words, the board handled this unsavory episode the right way.