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Greensburg Salem administrator will not sue school district over alleged harassment

| Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Greensburg Salem administrator has decided not to file a lawsuit against the district, two school directors and the former school board president, her attorney said on Thursday.

Attorney Charles Steele discussed Lisa Rullo's decision in light of an attorney for the school district filing papers this week in Westmoreland County Court dismissing Rullo's civil case.

“Lisa has decided not to proceed with a full-blown lawsuit due to her loyalty to her employer, the school district and the taxpayer,” Steele said.

“She's still saying there was wrongful behavior, but she's elected not to place the taxpayers at risk with any judgment,” he added. “She wants to spend money on children, not lawsuits.”

In March, Rullo, director of student and district services, filed notice that she planned to sue the school district and directors Lee Kunkle, President Ron Mellinger and former president Nat Pantalone, accusing them of harassment.

This week, attorney John Smart, representing the district and school board members, filed papers dismissing Rullo's case when she failed to file her suit within the required time frame.

The filing effectively ended Rullo's case unless she or Steele raises “valid points” in an appeal for why the civil case should continue, district solicitor John Scales said.

Scales, Superintendent Eileen Amato and Pantalone declined to comment on Rullo's decision. Neither Kunkle nor Rullo could be reached for comment.

Mellinger said he is glad the school district apparently won't have to spend more money defending itself.

Earlier this month, in a 6-2 vote, the school board granted a second sabbatical leave to Rullo for health restoration. That leave will run for half a school term and be retroactive to Sept. 14, when Rullo's first sabbatical ended, Amato said.

Directors discussed the second sabbatical leave during a closed-door meeting held on Oct. 9 for personnel and legal reasons.

“I want the public to know, most board members are listening to legal counsel,” said Dr. Richard Payha, a board member who voted against granting the second sabbatical. Director Angela DeMarino-Tooch also voted no.

Rullo's first leave began on May 6.

Pantalone resigned from the board this summer, mostly because of the Rullo matter, he said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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