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Judge denies reconsideration request by PV school board

Published May 31. 2013 05:02PM

Carbon County Judge Joseph J. Matika has denied a request by the Panther Valley School Board to reconsider his memorandum opinion from March 8 denying their petition for special relief in part and granting the petition in part, in a one page order signed Tuesday.

In a 31-page memorandum opinion filed March 8, Matika denied the Panther Valley school board from banning member R. Mickey Angst from attending executive meetings. But Matika sided with the board in its request in limiting Angst from disclosure and dissemination of confidential and privileged information or material.

In his opinion Matika cited numerous state and federal court rulings dealing with the rights of individuals under the U.S. Constitution and that of the Commonwealth.

The board of directors filed a civil action against Angst claiming he was disclosing confidential information discussed at executive sessions on the Internet for his blog.

The board said Angst was releasing sensitive material concerning personnel matters, including releasing information on teacher contract negotiations, and other items deemed confidential or privileged.

Angst argued that he was releasing information as not only a board member but a citizen and said it was his "freedom of speech" right to do it.

When the board filed its petition for reconsideration Angst also filed a response asking Matika to deny the petition.

In his denial of the petition, on a footnote to the order of denial, Matika wrote, "In reviewing Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration in conjunction with testimony presented at the November 1, 2012, hearing and this Court's Memorandum Opinion dated March 8, 2013, the issues raised by Plaintiff in its motion for reconsideration are either immaterial to the Court's ultimate decision or asks the Court to impose a ban on Defendant, R. 'Mickey' Angst, based upon speculation of how Angst may act in the future as a school board member."

The footnote also addresses the board's petition for reconsideration's claim that the court did not provide the parties with any guidelines to determine what constitutes privileged or confidential information and material.

Matika writes, "This particular issue was not before the Court and it will not attempt to usurp of the School Board's Solicitor's responsibilities."

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