2016-12-13 Regular Legislative Meeting
- Employment Termination of Teacher Stacie Stoops
- Last month's meeting was dominated by allegations that Teacher Stacie Stoops made racially disparaging comments in the classroom.
- Many parents were in the audience last month.
- On November 20Th, the district suspended Stoops.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that, "The teacher was discussing the election and the impact of a Trump presidency on the Black Lives Matter movement when she allegedly told students 'to stop bitching about being black'"
- The solicitor's report mentioned that the Stoops dismissal will be contested by the teachers association. The case now goes to an independent arbitrator who has the final call.
- At this meeting the board approved,"…. a detailed written statement of charges to Stacie Stoops….".
- According to the the OpenPAGov.org database, Stacie Stoops is a secondary teacher in mathematics at the High School. She has a Master's degree and her salary was $81697.
- During the public comment period Senator Art Haywood (husband of board member Julie Haywood) appeared before the board. The senator questioned the school district solicitor Mr. Roos as follows:
Sen. Haywood: "The main thing that brings me here is a comment I think I heard on TV regarding an employee who was dismissed and then is seeking arbitration." (To Mr. Roos). "Did you say anything about the incident that gave rise to the dismissal and arbitration ?"
Mr. Roos: "No."
Sen. Haywood: "Is this the same teacher who was allegedly making racial disparaging statements in the classroom ?"
Mr. Roos: "Yes. You are correct"
Sen. Haywood: "Now is the president of the teachers association– Is that Jack Kelly ?"
Mr. Roos: "Yes."
Sen. Haywood: "Has Jack Kelly been the president of the organization as far as you know…was he the president in the 2004 time-frame ?"
Mr. Roos: "I don't recall. I know there was a period of time when Mr. Kelly took a leave of absence."
Sen. Haywood:" A long time ago I was the leader of one of the black parent groups here. We asked to meet with the teachers union— I think it was a Jack Kelly— who said he didn't want to talk to us about the achievement gap. You wouldn't have any recollection of that ?"
Mr. Roos: "I'm afraid I do not.
Sen. Haywood:"Well….Are you aware of any legislation of another state, another locality, that would increase the capacity of the school district to discourage these kinds of arbitration ?"
Mr. Roos: "Not anything specific. Pennsylvania has historically had pretty strong protections in place— especially for teachers with tenure. But I know Pennsylvania laws are more robust than other states as far as protecting teachers rights."
Sen. Haywood: "If we could change the law, we could significantly change the dynamic."
Mr. Roos: "Yes there are changes that we could make…to the school code that could give the school board a little more authority in terms of termination of professional employees."
Sen. Haywood:"OK. So I would like to receive that information so that we can put together a legislative solution."
Mr. Roos: "Sure."
Sen. Haywood: "Thank You."
- Questions regarding the Cedarbrook Environmental Issues
- A member of the public, Christina Jorge Schwarz, questioned the board regarding the environmental contamination at the Cedarbrook construction site.
- She identified herself as an environmental consultant from Glenside, and also mentioned that she is a former employee of Lagan— the company that is performing the study at Cedarbrook.
- The board was voting on the second option for dealing with the problem: Capping the Site and Deed Notice with Environmental Covenant.
- She mentioned that the contaminant, PAH, is a probable human carcinogen.
- While there are savings with the capping option, there are other possible hidden costs such as insurance increases.
- No report regarding the site has been issued yet by Lagan.
- She requested that the vote be tabled until the report is received.
- The Superintendent replied that the district has all the data supporting the decision.
- Lagan Engineer Shaun David mentioned that PAH is not an indoor air concern, and that there would be long-term monitoring.
- Facilities Director Dr. Bavi stated that insurance would not cover any of the cleanup cost.