BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A big victory for embattled Buffalo’s Carl Paladino, as the state education department says he can maintain his post on the board of education while the commissioner considers his ultimate removal.

There are still four petitions calling for Paladino’s removal from the Buffalo Board of Education, and a lengthy legal process ahead.

Paladino’s words that appeared in the Dec. 22 edition of ArtVoice sparked an outcry from the public that continued this week, although there hasn’t been a rally calling for his ouster in weeks.

Many considered Paladino’s disparaging remarks against Barack and Michelle Obama as racist. Paladino said the words were meant as a joke he intended to send to a friend, but sent to the ArtVoice by mistake.

Since then, four groups have filed petitions for his removal from office.

Two of those four petitions included requests for the state education commissioner to remove him while she makes her decision. Those requests have been officially denied, and in the meantime, Paladino stays on the board of education.

“It was the right thing to do,” Paladino said late Friday.

The District Parent Coordinating Council told News 4 they are disappointed by the rejection from the state, but remain hopeful.

“The fact that the investigation is still going on, we’re confident that our petition is solid. We wanted the commissioner to act right away on the stay to stop this nonsense that’s going on with Carl Paladino and stop the nonsense with the board controversy overall,” said  Sam Radford, President of the District Parent Coordinating Council.

Radford says if the commissioner doesn’t take action in the next few months, the parent group will go to the Supreme Court to ask the court to make a ruling sooner.

Although this is a big win for Paladino, it is especially early on in the process. State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia could take months to issue her final decision. And then Paladino will have the opportunity for a hearing and to appeal the decision. During that appeal, he is allowed to maintain his seat on the board.