During a special meeting Thursday, the Panther Valley School Board hired an interim Elementary School Principal, Mary Figura, Jim Thorpe, to fill in for Principal William Lombardo, who is on unpaid leave through August 20, 2013. Figura's hiring is effective October 29 and continues for 90 days, at a rate of $260.23 per day.

In other action, on the recommendation of Superintendent Mrs. Rosemary Porembo and Special Education Supervisor Dan Borden, the board also approved a $7,500 settlement for a student identified only as No. 14772.

Director R. "Mickey" Angst attempted to get the board to table taking action on the settlement, claiming he couldn't vote because he didn't have enough information about it. Before the meeting, the board had canceled a scheduled executive session because Angst was in attendance and refused to leave.

As the regular meeting began, President Jeff Markovich explained that the executive session was canceled because the presence of Angst "prevented the directors from doing their duties."

In August 2008, the board voted 6-1 to bar Angst from executive sessions, claiming he was releasing confidential information. In June 2012, after Angst had appeared at an executive session, the board by a 7-2 vote directed solicitor Robert T. Yurchak to seek a court order barring Angst from executive sessions.

That matter is scheduled to be heard by Judge Joseph Matika, Court of Common Pleas, Carbon County Courthouse, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m.

During the school board meeting Thursday, Angst asked the board to table the vote on the settlement, claiming he hadn't had access to information on the matter because he wasn't allowed to attend executive sessions. His motion to table was seconded by Irene Genther, but it failed 5-2, with Markovich, Secretary Michelle Markovich, Treasurer Anthony DeMarco, David Hiles and Bill Hunsicker voting no.

Hunsicker then motioned to pay the settlement, seconded by Hiles, and that motion passed with a 5-1 vote. Hunsicker, Hiles, Jeff Markovich, Michelle Markovich and DeMarco voted to pay the settlement. Genther voted against paying the settlement, and Angst declined to vote.

In other action, the board also hired Cynthia Paul as an academic coach at the Panther Valley Middle School at a rate of $135 per day. Paul's contract will run from November 5 through April 19, 2013.

Board Vice President Koreen Nalesnik and director Richard Zabroksi were not present. The board's next meeting is Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. rather than the usual 7 p.m. start time.