Greensburg Salem to pay $140,000 in secret settlement with unnamed former employee
The Greensburg Salem School District will pay $140,000 to a former employee in a legal settlement that’s being kept under wraps.
The school board approved the settlement and the employee’s resignation at last week’s meeting. The employee was not named, and details of the settlement were not publicized.
Officials said the settlement contains a gag order which prevents them from disclosing its details.
However, it’s likely this gag order can’t be legally enforced, according to Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association.
“Confidentiality clauses like this, when they involve a public agency, they are not enforceable under Pennsylvania law,” she said. The settlement is a contract involving a public agency, which means it is public, Melewsky said. A confidentiality agreement can’t change that.
The Tribune-Review has filed a Right-to-Know request with the district to obtain the settlement and the employee’s identity.
Superintendent Gary Peiffer declined to comment Monday.
Board members Jeff Metrosky and Robin Savage voted against the settlement.
Metrosky said the details should be made public.
“Taxpayers are paying for this. They should know what they’re paying for,” he said at the meeting.
At that same meeting, the board approved a budget with a 1.5 mill tax increase. That increase is expected to bring in an extra $364,000. Paying the $140,000 settlement with real estate taxes would require the total tax revenue from 92 property owners at the districts’ average assessed value of just over $17,000 per property.
The Tribune-Review successfully filed a public-records request this year for details of a $31,000 settlement the Highlands School District reached with a former special education teacher, who the district did not identify when he was put on unpaid leave in February. District officials also first refused to release a copy of the settlement when it was approved in March.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .