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Chambersburg Area School Board rescinds offer to Dusman

It voted to amend a move on March 13 that in effect removed Dusman from her job as assistant superintendent and made her director of early childhood education

June 19, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Cathy Dusman speaks Wednesday night during the Chambersburg Area School Board meeting in Chambersburg, Pa.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — The Chambersburg Area School Board rescinded its offer to appoint a former assistant superintendent into another leadership position at the same salary and benefits.

By a 6-3 vote Wednesday night, the school board voted to amend a move on March 13 that in effect removed Cathy Dusman from her job as assistant superintendent and made her director of early childhood education.

Voting for the change were Phillip Miracle, Stanley Helman, Kim Amsley-Camp, Fred Rice, Joe Tosten and Norman Blowers.

Voting against the move were Joan Smith, Anne Boryan and Carl Barton.

Board attorney Jan Sulcove read aloud a harshly worded statement on behalf of the district, accusing Dusman of trying to “have her cake and eat it, too.”

In March, the district offered to appoint Dusman director of early childhood education  with the same pay and benefits that she had in her prior position, Sulcove said.

Dusman and her attorney Jack Sharpe of Chambersburg, filed a lawsuit against the school district on June 3 in Franklin County calling for her to be reinstated to the assistant’s job.

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Sulcove said the lawsuit was a “clear rejection of the offer that was made to her on March 13.”

“It is my understanding from communication from her counsel that she is demanding the position of director of early childhood education from pre-k through second grade be hers while she litigates with the district,” Sulcove said.

“Mrs. Dusman can not have it both ways,” he said.

While Sulcove said Dusman would not be terminated by the district, he said the superintendent would assign her duties with the school district at the end of her contract, which expires on Aug. 23.

“Her duties will reflect the best interests of the district. Mrs. Dusman has shown she can look after her own interests,” Sulcove said.

“I will continue to fight for what is right and just,” Dusman said after the vote.

She said there was no reason for her removal as assistant superintendent.

“It is evident that this community supports me in the position of assistant superintendent, and I will continue to do everything I can in whatever capacity I’m in to help students in this district,” she said.

Dozens of students, peers and community members waited in line to speak on behalf Dusman before the board vote.

“You made a mistake back in March. Mistakes can be rectified and I ask you to do the right think tonight,” Robert Wareham Sr. told the board.

“(Superintendent Joseph Padasak), she makes your administration look good. She is student-oriented. Education is her priority. We can not afford to lose her,” he said. “Now is the time to reconsider the wrong you did to Cathy in March. Do the right thing.”

“I’m a taxpayer and I support Cathy Dusman,” said Karen Webber.

“This lady has a heart of gold. You really need to think about what you’re doing right now,” Webber said.

No one spoke in support of the board’s actions.

In other action, the board approved its $113 million budget for 2013-14 with a 1 percent tax increase.

No other information was available.

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