Palmerton board OKs Husar’s right to appeal
The Palmerton school board has approved “the adjudication in the Paula Husar Palmerton Area School District Board Dismissal Hearing,” as it was referred to in the board’s agenda.
What this means, according to board solicitor Shawn Lochinger, is that the board approves of the official written summary as presented by independent hearing officer Robert Yurchak.
“Technically speaking, it gives Mrs. Husar the right to appeal,” he said.
Husar’s attorney filed an appeal on her behalf in Carbon County Court on May 20. The appeal is asking for a reversal of the board’s decision in April to uphold her nine-month suspension from Sept. 7, 2017, to June 7, 2018.
“The district did not meet its burden of proof of establishing any of the charges alleged against her by Mr. Engler, including, but not limited to the charge that she engaged in persistence negligence of her duties,” wrote Husar’s attorney, Mark Bufalino, in the appeal.
Husar was reinstated by the school board as the high school’s principal in April 2019. She is seeking a reversal of the suspension along with back pay and benefits for that nine-month period.
Of the 20 charges leveled against Husar by former Palmerton Superintendent Scot Engler, the school board voted unanimously that 16 of them did not have sufficient evidence to terminate Husar.
Of the remaining charges, the board voted:
• In a 5-4 decision that she was persistently negligent in the performance of her duties as stated in the dismissal charges.
• In a 6-3 decision that she did not harass and intimidate fellow employees. Only board members Barry Scherer, Tammy Recker and Josann Harry thought there was enough evidence to support termination under this charge.
• And only Scherer thought there was enough evidence in two charges: that she intentionally attempted to discredit Engler by making false and derogatory statements about him, and that she failed to comply with a board policy related to field trips and the appropriate number of chaperones.
Bufalino also contends in the appeal that “the district was improperly permitted to present hearsay statements of several students whom the district failed to identify and whose identities would not present issues of disclosure or discipline, and therefore, denied Mrs. Husar from exercising her right to cross-examine those individuals.”
The next hearing has been set for 1:15 p.m. Oct. 22 in Carbon County Court of Common Pleas before Judge Joseph J. Matika.