HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
Susquehanna Township School District's board of directors has voted to accept the superintendent's resignation.
President John Dietrich said in a statement that Dr. Susan Kegerise's lawsuit against the district represents the same thing as an official submission of a resignation. Dietrich, along with board members Carol Karl, Mark Sussman and Clifton Edwards voted to approve the measure. Board members Peter Sakol, Kathy DelGrande and Helen Spence abstained, saying they did not have enough information to make a decision.
"While the District has no comment on the lawsuit, the District's residents are entitled to understand Dr. Kegerise's present employment status," Dietrich said in a statement. "Based on the assertions set forth in her lawsuit, Dr. Kegerise has claimed that she was constructively discharged, presumably indicating that she contends that the employment relationship between herself and the District has been severed by some action or inaction on the District's part. While the District will more fully respond in court, the District denies Dr. Kegerise's constructive discharge claim in its entirety."
Kegerise had been on personal leave since late March. Her attorney filed a civil suit in federal court Thursday alleging, among several things, that Kegerise has been subject to verbal abuse and physical intimidation in her current position, which has created a hostile working environment. The complaint said she has been discriminated against on the basis of her age, gender and race.
The suit names the district and board members Jesse Rawls Sr., Mark Sussman and Carol Karl as co-defendants. On March 8, Sussman and Rawls dropped a separate civil suit against Kegerise that argued provisions in her employment contract that prevented public criticism of the superintendent violated their First Amendment rights. Karl was elected as a new board member in November 2013.
Dietrich said in responding to Kegerise's earlier voluntary use of leave time, "Dr. Kegerise's counsel was advised by the District on April 16, 2014 that Dr. Kegerise 'is, and remains, the Superintendent of Schools in Susquehanna Township School District pursuant to the contract between she and the Board'. Accordingly, despite Dr. Kegerise's claim of constructive discharge, the District is compelled to instead conclude she made a voluntary choice to resign her District employment, effective April 17, 2014. Consequently, Dr. Kegerise's duties will be re-assigned to members of the administrative staff. The District has begun the process of identifying a new Superintendent and, to that end, the District will endeavor to quickly assign an interim Superintendent while it conducts a broader search."
The board also approved the resignation of assistant superintendent Cathy Taschner. She has already accepted a new position in the Coatesville School District. She will remain in charged of the district through June 7, according to district solicitor Jeff Engle.