Talks are underway between attorneys for the school board and Matthew Strine over his future as superintendent of South Middleton School District.
Board President Liz Knouse briefed the public Monday on the status of Strine after his recent admission that he plagiarized a portion of a 2011 speech in his June 10 message to Boiling Springs High School graduates.
“We are working closely with our solicitor to take appropriate action consistent with the Public School Code,” Knouse said. “Strine’s contract is part of that code. We will adhere to that.”
Under state law, Strine has the right to due process and to legal representation through an attorney. Both sides have met in closed door sessions to discuss a possible outcome. No announcement has been made.
On July 14, Strine posted an apology on the district website stating that he was sorry for using words drawn from four paragraphs of a commencement speech Amy Poehler gave to 2011 graduates of Harvard University.
Three days later, on July 17, board members posted a statement calling the plagiarism unacceptable behavior while vowing to address the development in the most appropriate way.
In recent weeks, there have been calls from local residents for Strine to resign.
“We have heard from you,” Knouse told the capacity crowd that attended the school board meeting Monday. “We know that there’s discontent. We take this very seriously. We are taking the time to work through this matter.”
In late July, Knouse said the board would like to meet with Strine to not only discuss the plagiarism, but also to review the results of his annual performance evaluation.
Around that same time, local resident Katrina Scavone sent an email to board members asking if Strine had received a raise based on his latest evaluation.
“That email has not been answered,” Scavone said Monday. “That was a week or two ago. I want to know when the board was first notified of the plagiarism.”
“I’m not going to answer you tonight,” Knouse said in response, offering instead to email the answer to Scavone directly. Scavone also wanted to know if the evaluation has been completed.
“Transparency is lacking,” Scavone said, drawing a comparison between South Middleton and neighboring Cumberland Valley School District.
Unlike South Middleton, CV has posted an evaluation of its superintendent that included his salary history along with details on whether he met goals outlined by the school board.
“This is all public information,” Scavone said. “Cumberland Valley listed it on their website. We should also be transparent and provide it.”
Email Joseph Cress at email@example.com.