Charleroi Area School Board votes to oust superintendent
By Rick Bruni Jr. and Chris Buckley
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 3:12 p.m.
The Charleroi Area School District will seek a new superintendent.
The school board on Tuesday voted, 7-2, to open the job of longtime Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko.
Ferko's 10-year tenure is scheduled to end July 1. He is in the last year of a five-year contract that pays him approximately $126,000 annually.
Hired in 2004, Ferko said he wasn't surprised by the board's decision.
“It was an honor and a privilege to serve the people and students of the Charleroi Area School District. That's all I'm going to say,” Ferko said. “I love my students. I plan on continuing to focus on the students and perform my job to the best of my abilities until June.”
The following voted to open Ferko's position: Ken Wiltz, Patsy Brinker, Rosalie Carroll, Heather Keranko, Jim Short, Greg Anders and Charles Yakich.
Adele Hopkins and Elaine Pappasergi opposed the action.
“I guess you could look at it this way. I was superintendent in one place 10 years, and that is far above the state average for that position,” Ferko said.
Wiltz said, contractually, the board had to inform Ferko of its decision by January. The board president added that the vote was not based on anything Ferko had done “to raise any red flags.”
Wiltz confirmed that Ferko was offered a chance to resign, but he refused.
“He has done a lot for the school district, and I have said that to his face. But it has just gotten to that point where we need to move in a different direction,” Wiltz said.
Wiltz declined to elaborate further, saying, “That delves into personnel matters, and I don't know if I can go into that.”
Wiltz said Ferko asked the board to make its decision known “sooner than later.” He said directors had been discussing the position.
“There were no concerns about his abilities or inabilities,” Wiltz said. “He now has an opportunity to go aggressively after another job, and we have the opportunity to start our search.”
Wiltz said the board will begin discussions as early as its November informational meeting on how to commence the search. Wiltz said he does not expect the search process to be finalized until January.
In an interview Wednesday, Hopkins called the vote “a huge mistake.”
She said Ferko helped the district “rise from the ashes.”
“I would love to see him stay until he retires,” Hopkins said. “I think he has been the best thing ever for our school. Our students are No. 1, and I'll bet you he knows all 1,700 of their names.”
Hopkins said Ferko was key in addressing several issues – from facilities to morale – when he arrived 10 years ago.
“It was a mess. … our curriculum was about nonexistent 10 years ago for our elementary students,” Hopkins said. “Financially, we're one of the few school districts that never laid off a teacher or cut a student program in the past 10 years.
“When the teachers took pay cuts, he would not let us give him a raise for two years. He is Charleroi. Someone is going to snatch him up.”
Pappasergi said Wednesday that although she and Ferko have had past differences, she cast her vote for the good of the school district.
“I had to sit down and weigh the pros and cons for what he did the past 10 years,” said Pappasergi, listing Ferko's establishment of all-day kindergarten, after-school tutoring and homework programs.
“He's saved the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by starting our own cyber school. I decided any differences I had with him should be put aside for the good of the kids. That's what my vote was based on.”
Ferko was hired May 6, 2004, to replace Carol Witmyer, who resigned in December 2003. Reid Smith subsequently was named interim superintendent.
Ferko formerly served as assistant superintendent in the Shaler Area and Burrell school districts. He also served as principal and both Riverview and Conneaut Valley high schools.
Wiltz said the vetting process for Ferko's replacement would likely be performed by Intermediate Unit 1 – a public school support service.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2642. Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Monessen traffic stop leads to car, foot chases
- Belle Vernon theft suspect, wife taken into police custody
- Valley native exits troubled Ukraine
- Dances, concert will lead Mon Valley oldies buffs down Memory Lane
- Photo gallery: California Area High School drama club stages ‘The Pajama Game’
- Event to highlight economic opportunities provided by Mon River
- Mon Valley fire companies scramble to raise cash, blame casinos
- Local money pushed Shady Grove to front of amusement scene
- Washington Co. needs poll workers
- Donora man accused of assaulting girlfriend
- Ringgold may fill AD post Tuesday