BY JOHN MESSEDER
Times Staff Writer
The Gettysburg school board unanimously, and without discussion, voted Monday evening to:
- approve Stock and Leader, Attorneys at Law, as Special Legal Counsel for the School Board of Directors;
- approve the Administrative Leave of Absence for personal reasons for District Superintendent William H. Hall, beginning September 20, 2010; and
- approved Assistant Superintendent Larry Redding as Substitute Superintendent retroactive to September 21, until the end of the Superintendent’s Leave of Absence.
School Board President Patt Symmes refused to say why Hall had suddenly been placed on what she termed “administrative leave.”
Referring to public questions and rumors about Hall’s absence, she said only, “They (members of the public) need to understand we are legally bound.”
Immediately following the Sept. 20 board meeting, the members went into executive session for what Symmes said at the time was “a personnel matter.” The following day, she acknowledged Hall had been placed on Administrative Leave for “personal reasons.”
Symmes partially responded to some rumors floated during the weeks since the announcement.
She said his district computer was not confiscated, and that it had not been given to any outside investigative agency.
“I don’t think anything has been done with the computer,” she said, adding the Redding continued to use the computer assigned to him as assistance superintendent. Hall has a personal computer, which he took with him, Symmes said.
“He was not escorted (from the building) by any outside source,” she said, adding there was no effort thought necessary on the part of the board or district to protect the district from the superintendent.
“He is not being reprimanded,” she said.
She acknowledged district employees have been told not to have contact with Hall, professionally or personally.
“Correct,” she said, “because it is a personnel issue.”
She steadfastly maintained she could not say whether Hall or the school board had initiated the action.
Symmes said the attorney had been hired, at a cost of $185 an hour, because Hall is still under contract with the district.
Hall is one year into a four and-a-half-year contract, set to expire at the end of the school year in 2014. Symmes said he currently continues to be paid normal pay and benefits under the contract. His package includes $135,630 annual salary, 20 vacation days and 5 personal days.
Hall’s employment at Gettysburg began in January 2007. He replaced David Mowery.
The contract may be terminated:
- for disability “any time after the Superintendent has exhausted any acculmulated sick leave and such other leave as may be available to him;”
- for cause — violation of the School Code;
- at the will of the school board provided the board give 90 days written notice, and the superintendent agrees with the decision; or
- at the will of the superintendent on 150 days written notice.
If the termination is at the school board’s will, the superintendent would be paid either one year’s salary or the salary to the end of the contract, “whichever is less, of an amount mutually agreed upon by both parties. Termination at the will of the superintendent would terminate all pay, benefits and other obligations of the district.
In other business, the board:
- granted Karen Briant, Gifted Teacher at the Gettysburg Area Middle School, an approved FMLA Leave beginning approximately February 4, 2011; Briant plans to return to work on the first day of the 2011-2012 school year;
- change District Technician, Level J to District Technology Assistant, Level H, effective immediately;
- employed John E. Ziegler as an eight-hour a day day District Technology Assistant with a current assignment at the Gettysburg Area Middle School, replacing Aimee Hagan, effective Oct. 18, 2010;
- accepted the retirement of 33-year employee Nancy Hartzell, full-time, second shift Custodian at the Gettysburg Area Middle School, effective Jan. 12, 2011;
- accepted the resignation of Ashley Miller, part-time, second shift Custodian at Lincoln Elementary School, retroactive to Sept. 23.
Redding noted a public forum scheduled Thursday night at Franklin Elementary School, beginning at 7 p.m. He said the forum would open with presentations about the district’s facilities, budget, student achievement and tech prep programs.
“We will begin with those presentations,” he said, “then open the floor for questions from the public.”
He said the forum agenda is posted on the district website, Gettysburg.k12.pa.us, along with a link by which anyone may submit questions by e-mail.
Readers may contact John Messeder at firstname.lastname@example.org.