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Can They
Or Can't They?

By Matt Youngfrau
FALLSBURG — March 22, 2002 – What’s in a name?
A great deal according to the regulations of the New York State Department of Education.
According to that department’s regulations, each state school district must have a director of physical education. To be a director of physical education, that person must have a degree in Administration and Physical Education.
Fallsburg Central School Director of Physical Education Randall (Randy) Squier is apparently not in compliance with that regulation.
Squier, who has also served as Fallsburg’s athletic director for the past three years, does not meet those qualifications. Squier, who is certified in secondary social studies, has his degree as an administrator, but does not have his teaching degree in physical education.
A few months ago, Fallsburg Superintendent Gary Holbert wrote to New York State Commissioner of Education Richard Mills, seeking a waiver on the regulation. In the letter, dated October 31, 2001, Holbert acknowleged that Squier cannot be appointed as the district’s director of physical education because he lacks the necessary state certification.
“I am asking for relief in this regulation,” Holbert wrote in the letter. “The person is a certified coach and has an extensive background in the NYS Standards for Health and Physical Education. He is a certified administrator . . . and has been the leader in this area for the past two years. Mr. Randall Squier is the individual that we would like to appoint because he has the skills and knowledge to be successful.”
Holbert received a response from the state education department about three weeks later, on November 19, 2001. That letter indicated that the department could not accommodate the request for waiver and suggested that the district find an individual who meets the requirements.
A few days later, Holbert responded to the letter. In his response, Holbert noted that in extenuating circumstances, “a member of the physical education staff may be designated for such responsibilities, upon approval of the Commissioner.”
He further stated that he believed Fallsburg Central School fit that circumstance and asked for a response.
But in the four months since, there has been no response from the state education department.
That issue was brought up by some angry parents at a recent Fallsburg Board of Education meeting. At that March 6 meeting, parents who knew about Holbert’s letters to the education department and the department’s responses questioned Holbert on the situation. They also requested that action be taken.
Board President Robert Scheinman pointed out that Squier was hired as the school’s athletic director – not as the director of physical education. Scheinman echoed Holbert’s sentiments and told the parents that the district was still trying to get the waiver.
The issue was expected to be discussed again at the very next board meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday evening. The meeting was cancelled due to wintry weather.
However, Holbert addressed the issue when contacted by the Democrat on Wednesday.
“There are 200 schools in the state in the same boat,” Holbert stated in a phone interview. “Randy has done a good job. We will talk to our lawyers and see where the final line is. We are not sure where we will go next.”
Holbert did say that he would write the State Education Department again. And the subject may be broached at the next Fallsburg Board of Education meeting, which is slated for April 10.

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