Judge OKs settlement with three school bus drivers fired for felonies

| Thursday, May 9, 2013, 6:48 p.m.

Three school bus drivers fired because of decades-old felony convictions have settled their lawsuit against the state Department of Education and three local school districts, according to a judge's order issued Thursday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Maureen Kelly ordered the case closed based on the settlement, but the order doesn't detail the agreement.

Jamestown Area School District in Mercer County and Gateway and Penn Hills school districts in 2012 fired Terri McCloskey, 49, of West Salem, Kathie Tomajko, 52, of Leechburg and a driver identified only as D.S. because of felony convictions that were at least 30 years old.

Lawyers for the school districts and an Education Department spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.

In three other cases, the Commonwealth Court in December ruled that the law, as applied in those cases, violated the constitutional rights of the three employees. The Education Department has since directed superintendents to consider several factors, including how much time has passed since the conviction, before firing employees with prior felonies.

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