Richard Rossi said he had anticipated a much closer vote on his contract.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- The Sharon City School District is looking for a new superintendent.
The school board voted 2-7 Monday not to retain Richard A. Rossi after his five-year contract expires June 30, 2002, and then voted 7-2 to open the job to other candidates.
Rossi, 52, said he knew he had fallen out of favor with some school directors but he didn't know how many were against him.
"I was stunned by the margin," he said, explaining that he thought he had the solid support of four board members.
Only Nick Morocco and Linda Valentino voted to renew his contract.
Wonders why: "I still haven't heard any reason why he shouldn't have been rehired," Morocco said later, noting that Rossi's recent evaluation by the board went well.
"I thought he was doing a good job," Valentino said, adding that the board needs to allow its administrators to do the jobs they are paid to do.
"Basically, it's politics as usual again," Morocco said.
School director Amity Messett denied that politics played any role in her vote.
"The decisions I made this evening, along with all of the other decisions that I have made as a member of this school board, were not political or personal. As always, this decision was made only with the best interest of our children and community in mind," Messett said in a prepared statement.
"It was a very, very tough decision for me," said school director Donald Golub. He said he voted based on some events in the basketball program and some administrative decisions that displeased him.
Directors Pamela Corini and Kathy Hall said they were comfortable with their decisions. They said that Rossi had been evaluated three times and all three rated "fair to poor."
"I'm checking my legal sources," Rossi said after the vote. He declined to elaborate.
Rossi said that 93 percent of the comments on his last evaluation were in the fair to good to outstanding range. That would appear that the board was pleased, he said.
A number of "single issues" involving board members led to the decision not to retain him, Rossi said. He accused school director Dom Russo of blind-siding him with issues at board meetings and of warning him years ago that he wouldn't be around for a second contract if he supported certain people in the district's football program.
Russo declined to comment.
"I believe this wasn't performance-based," Rossi said, noting that student test scores are higher, school construction projects are going well and the district got a governor's award for outstanding labor-management cooperation.
Rossi said he is disappointed with the board's lack of support for the administrative team.