Monday, October 27, 2014

Letter to the Editor: From Former Pottsville School Board Member Scott R. Thomas

Letter to the Editor:  From Former Pottsville School Board Member Scott R. Thomas

To the Editor:

I write this letter to clarify the facts of the recent hiring practice of the Pottsville Area School District, and to clarify the smear attempt of the board in trying to distract attention away from themselves by stating that my mother was hired by the school district while I served on the board. So, with that in mind, here are the facts:

1. From the outset, I have objected to the recent hiring of the transportation supervisor based on the fact that the candidate hired did not have the qualifications required for the job. I don’t think this candidate should have been hired, and was outraged when she was selected over other candidates who were qualified and had service to the district. Perhaps that is why the school’s own department director recommended a different candidate, but was overruled by the administration.

2. I have always felt that hiring qualified candidates should be the guiding principle that our school district should follow. With that in mind, as a member of the board in the past, I have voted for individuals who were related to board members or administrators. For example, Mr. Krater’s sons have been hired for coaches, monitors, van drivers and security guards, and I did not object because each had the qualifications necessary to do the job.

3. The board recently discussed their hiring practices and in so doing mentioned that my mother also worked for the district. That was very deceitful and unethical, in light of the fact that I had no role in her being hired. Very simply, my mother was hired as a part-time, substitute cafeteria worker while I was on the board. I did not advocate for her. I did not ask anyone to help her. I did not participate in her hiring decision or have any influence in her selection.

4. I believe the attempt of the school board, in issuing its statement at the last meeting, was a retaliatory strike against me as they know they were wrong in their hiring decision. Sadly, they have reverted to a “bullying tactic” against me for simply asking the difficult questions that they themselves should have been asking. Bullying has no place in our schools, and it certainly has no place in our school board either.

Despite their efforts, I will remain firm in my belief that the board is flawed in its process, and I will remain vigilant in standing up to practices or leaders that cheapen the integrity of our school district. To that end, I ask my fellow citizens of the Pottsville area to join me at future school board meetings and to scrutinize the decisions our board is making.

Thank you for your interest in making Pottsville Area a place where students come first!

Scott R. Thomas, Former Member Pottsville Area School Board

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