News

Susquehanna Township SD spent nearly $200k on legal fees

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 22, 2014 12:00 PM

(Susquehanna Township) -- Susquehanna Township School District's Business Manager Michael Frentz has revealed the district legal bills have totaled $195,000 in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, more than three times what was originally budgeted ($60,000).

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The district has faced numerous legal matters, most notably an investigation into former assistant principal Shawn Sharkey's relationship with a student that led to charges of  having sexual contact with a student, corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor, according to court records. Sharkey is awaiting trial. A grand jury declined to bring charges against the district in connection to the Sharkey case. 

More recently, now-former Superintendent Dr. Susan Kegerise has filed a $6 million federal lawsuit against the district, accusing numerous board members of sex, race and age discrimination, along with creating a hostile work environment.

In response to the increased costs, Frentz has increased the budget amount for legal costs for 2014-2015 nearly 67%, to $100,000.

District leaders absent from meeting

The seats for now-former Superintendent Susan Kegerise, as well as Assistant Superintendents Cathy Taschner and Kimberly Donahue, were empty at a recent monthly school board meeting. In scheduled business, the board accepted the resignation of Taschner, effective June 7th. She is slated to become the Coatesville Area School District's next superintendent. Both Taschner and Donahue have taken on more responsibilities since Kegerise stopped showing up for work March 20th.

Taxes expected to increase

Frentz says he expects a real estate tax increase of about 1% to pay for projects at the high school, on top of higher payments into the PSERS (Public School Employees' Retirement System). He says the increase would raise about $280,000 each year.

To answer questions about whether that money could be cut from the budget to spare residents a tax increase, Frentz responded the money would have to be cut in perpetuity. 

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