By Elise Franco
An emotionally charged email from school-board member Harold Porter calls for the resignation of Superintendent Vince Colaluca.
Porter, who was elected to the board in November 2011, sent the email to Colaluca and other school-board members early Monday.
To fellow board members Porter wrote, “I am requesting that [Colaluca] immediately submits his resignation to the board and we unanimously” accept it.
Colaluca told The Vindicator on Monday he is legally unable to comment at this time.
Porter discussed his reasons why he feels Colaluca has failed in his position as superintendent, and said that district morale is at an all-time low.
“I can no longer tolerate your inadequate and failed leadership that I have witnessed over the past several years,” Porter wrote, accusing Colaluca of fear tactics that “make yourself unapproachable.”
Board President Tom Stellers said Porter’s comments don’t represent the opinions of all five board members.
“That letter reflects the opinion of one board member,” Stellers said, referring to Porter. “All the board members have a deep passion for Austintown schools, and each of us expresses that passion in different ways.”
Stellers said he’d never heard some of the issues discussed in the email, and that the board would “be making sure all of the incidents that are described are investigated.”
Stellers also noted that Colaluca, who replaced Doug Heuer as superintendent in 2009, has had “very good evaluations” during his tenure.
Stellers said the board won’t address the email during its 6 p.m. meeting today at Austintown Middle School.
But Porter said the email has made its way through the district and to some township residents, and he believes many community members will speak up during the meeting’s public-comment time.
“I expect a lot of people to be calling for his resignation, and not just because of this [email],” Porter said. “Things are getting ugly.”
The public has expressed its discontent with Colaluca, as well as the board, over the past several months on several issues, including discontinuing benefits for bus drivers and announcing the district would no longer provide busing to Austintown children who attend nonpublic schools.
The latter situation was without resolution for nearly three months, but busing was eventually reinstated after coordination between the district and the nonpublic school administrators.
Porter also said “we have no chance for any future levies” if Colaluca remains superintendent.
Though voters defeated a bond issue in November 2009, they eventually approved a 2.9-mill bond issue in May 2010 that is paying for $27 million of a $50 million new schools project under way on the district’s campus.
Colaluca has said previously that in the near future the board intends to put a new operating levy on the ballot for the first time since the mid-1990s.
He’s also said board members are considering a bond issue to pay for a portion of renovations at Fitch High School.