Penn Hills superintendent quits, 34 teachers fired

| Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Penn Hills School Board accepted the resignation of the superintendent during a meeting Tuesday in which 34 teachers were fired as part of an effort to plug a $5 million hole in next year's budget.

Patricia Gennari, the superintendent since 2004, informed the board by letter of her resignation. She provided no reason for leaving the $130,000-a-year job.

The board appointed Assistant Superintendent Joseph Carroll Jr. as interim superintendent.

A number of residents attending the meeting criticized the board for publicizing the names of furloughed teachers before they were told they were losing their jobs.

"Those names should not have been listed (on the agenda)," said resident Doug Salah. "Shame on you for doing that."

Board President Erin Vecchio, who cast the lone vote against the firings, said the board did not learn that the names would be published until after the agenda was printed. She voted against the measure because she believed between 17 and 20 teachers would be let go, not 34.

Board members Don Kuhn Jr. and Margie Krogh were absent from the meeting.

Union representative Ryan Osorio said a grievance will be filed against the district because the teachers contract requires that employees be notified of furloughs by April 1.

The board voted recently to close two of its six elementary schools, scrap the vocational education program and raise taxes to address a budget deficit. A number of administrative positions have been eliminated.

The cuts, including the 34 teaching positions eliminated, amount to about $3.6 million in savings. Additional cuts are expected in the coming weeks.

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