BREAKING NEWS: School board president to resign amid marijuana controversy

New Paltz Board of Education President Don Kerr will resign from the school board amid a swirl of controversy over his potential involvement in a marijuana sting operation.

Kerr, 52, of Millrock Road, was arrested last week and charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a Class D felony. New Paltz Police Department officials said that they made the arrest in as part of a joint investigation with the United States Postal Inspection Service to ferret out pot delivered by mail.

According to the police, Kerr accepted a package that contained 8 pounds of high quality marijuana, with a street value of $32,000. New Paltz Police Department’s K-9 Unit also played a role in the arrest, since police dog Rex identified the package as containing weed – allowing the cops to ask for a warrant.

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Arrested at approximately 6 p.m. on Nov. 4, Kerr has already been arraigned by the Town of New Paltz Justice Jonathan Katz and released to return for a Nov. 9 court date in New Paltz.

For the NPPD, the drug bust is the second big payoff for their weed-through-the-mail sting operation with the Postal Service. In late October, police arrested Jarred Spindel, 29, in a similar sting and charged him with criminal possession of marijuana. During the earlier drug bust, $50,000 worth of weed was confiscated by the police.

School board President Kerr has faced misdemeanor drug charges before, stemming from a 2008 arrest and a 1999 arrest for driving under the influence and misdemeanor marijuana possession charges. However, Kerr ultimately accepted a plea deal in the 2008 case that dropped DUI and marijuana possession charges if he pleaded guilty to reckless driving.

In 2010, when the case went to court, angry parents flocked to Board of Education meetings to ask that he resign. Supporters of Kerr’s presidency also showed up, praising his work and acknowledging the ruling of the court.

Kerr’s defenders pointed out his work at Wet-Tek to make simple water filtration systems to benefit the citizens of the Third World. The president has also been a staunch advocate of public access Channel 23 on Time Warner Cable, and he has volunteered his time to make sure that local government meetings get on the air.

School board members at that time said they had no power to remove Kerr from office because the courts had not found him guilty of a drug charge. Kerr stayed on the board and was elected to another term as president.

New Paltz school Superintendent Maria Rice declined to comment when asked about the charge. However, school board Vice President KT Tobin did confirm that he would step down.

“He’s resigning today, effective immediately,” Tobin said.

Phone calls to Don Kerr seeking comment for the story were not immediately returned.

Read the print edition of the New Paltz Times later this week for the full story.

There are 10 comments

  1. J. Pierre

    All you New Paltz, Liberal, Hippie, Drug addicts, who supported this clown – CAN EAT CROW! Shame on you and shame on this pathetic immoral school district for not taking a stand against this drug abuser the last time. You get what you deserve. Don Kerr’s arrogance finally caught up with him….JUSTICE!

  2. joe pierre

    Don Kerr, what stand up guy! Wondering if all of his supporters will show up at the next Board of Ed meeting to show their support.

    It appears the NP Times couldn’t handle my last post for calling a spade a spade. Typical Liberal reaction – when you don’t like what someone says – SILENCE THEM!

  3. Martin McPhillips

    Don Kerr is entitled to due process. Not only do we not know all the facts, we know hardly any facts at all. He went to the Post Office and picked up a package that had eight pounds of marijuana in it. I think it has been reported that it wasn’t addressed to him and that he accepted it as a courtesy to another tenant in the building where his company has an office (Times Herald-Record?). We don’t have a detailed fact pattern.

    Terence: Stories without by-lines are perfectly acceptable. The publisher and editor are responsible for all stories anyway.

  4. M.L.

    I agree that all the facts are not known in this case. Just because someone is accused of something does not automatically make them guilty; whether they are a school board president, doctor, lawyer, teacher, child, etc. He could have certainly done this. But it could have also been a sting, set up, whatever. I get scared when people are so quick to find people guilty without all of the facts.

  5. N.Z.

    If it turns out that he did do this, then I think the Zero tolerance policy in this school should be looked at. So it;s ok for a school board president to get another chance if caught with pot while driving in your car but if a kid does it at the high school they get immediately expelled or suspended? Now that is not fair. Especially if the adults are claiming to be setting an example.

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