Judge puts Plum school board member back on panel
A judge Monday appointed former Plum school board member Michelle Stepnick to the seat she’s been trying to get back since rescinding the resignation she submitted in September.
Allegheny County Judge Michael E. McCarthy ruled that her resignation created an open seat that she didn’t get back by rescinding her resignation before the school board officially accepted it. Then, the judge appointed Stepnick to “fill the current unexpired term of the vacant school board position.”
“I’m happy that this is done and behind us,” Stepnick said Monday afternoon. “I want to move on and focus on the issues we need to focus on, which is the education of our kids.”
Stepnick, who resigned prior to the start of a Sept. 27 meeting and before a vote was taken to reinstate school Superintendent Timothy Glasspool, attempted to rescind her resignation on Oct. 7.
Glasspool, before the 4-3 vote to reinstate him, was on paid leave in the wake of a grand jury report accusing him and other administrators of turning a blind eye to years of sexual abuse of female students by male high school teachers. Glasspool returned to work Oct. 3.
The board after Stepnick’s resignation started taking applications to fill her seat, and on Oct. 25 deadlocked on appointing resident Scott Coulson as her replacement. Her term expires at the end of this year.
A panel of residents petitioned the court to fill the seat after the board failed to do so. Stepnick filed a separate suit asking the judge to rule she never lost the seat because her resignation never was formally accepted.
“I’m glad the issue’s resolved and the district can move forward,” board member Richard Zucco said.
Board member Steve Schlauch echoed Zucco’s comments.
“It is what it is and I respect the judge’s decision,” said Schlauch. “As a board, we have a responsibility to more forward and tackle important issues such as the financial crisis that is facing the district and how we are going to correct it.”
A budget meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the high school library.
“I was going no matter what,” Stepnick said of that meeting. “I have a lot of questions. The last thing I want to see is a program cut or class sizes increased.”
The next regular voting meeting is 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the municipal building.
Mike Divittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer.