NESHANNOCK School board OKs solicitor

The board's president will step down Monday.
NESHANNOCK, Pa. -- The Neshannock school board was not in total agreement when it appointed a new solicitor for the district.
The board approved Atty. Jonathan Solomon as solicitor for the district by a 5-4 vote at its Thursday session.
Board members Frank Rondinelli, Joseph Gierlach, Richard Canciello, James Kearney Jr. and Tracy Stevenson voted for Solomon. Board president Karen Houk, Dr. John Dietz, Gina Hennon and Walter Kustra voted for Atty. Michael Bonner.
Solomon practices law in New Castle and is a New Castle resident, while Bonner practices in Grove City and lives in Neshannock Township.
Kustra said, "I think we should have picked [an attorney] from the township."
Rondinelli said he based his decision on the amount of experience each attorney possessed.
Solomon will charge the district a rate of $100 per hour. He replaces Atty. Richard Flannery. Flannery's contract was not renewed by the board and expires Sunday. He served as solicitor for more than 23 years.
Also leaving
The board also is losing its president. Houk announced that she would be stepping down as president effective Monday.
Reading from a prepared statement, Houk said, "I entered the position [as president] with the hope that each board member could set aside individual differences and work toward a common goal."
She said when the board entered into a superintendent search, she hoped it could become one unified entity "to achieve the important task of hiring a superintendent, but the board remains divided and ineffective."
Houk said after the meeting that she is not sure when a decision will be made on a new superintendent.
In other business, two administrators will receive a 5-percent pay increase for the 2002-03 school year, but the third administrator will only receive a 2-percent increase.
Canciello made a motion to reduce the recommended salary increase for elementary principal Matthew Heasley from $2,352 to $1,344.
The vote on the motion was 5-4, with Canciello, Rondinelli, Kearney, Gierlach and Stevenson voting for the decrease. Kustra, Hennon, Dietz and Houk were against a reduction that dropped the raise from 3.5 percent to 2 percent.
Heasley's total salary for the upcoming school year will be $69,545.
Maynard Harvey, high school principal, received a $3,804 raise, increasing his salary to $79,877. Nicholas Perry, junior high school principal, received an increase of $3,150, setting his salary at $66,150.
The superintendent rates the administration. The rating is then placed into a range to determine the salary increase.

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