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Woodland Hills school board takes no 'satisfaction' in president's resignation

| Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 11:30 p.m.
Woodland Hills Junior/Senior High School
Woodland Hills School District
Woodland Hills Junior/Senior High School
Tara Reis
Tara Reis

The Woodland Hills Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to accept the resignation of Board President Tara Reis, who abruptly stepped down Monday.

Reis did not attend the public meeting at the district's administrative office in North Braddock, and she has not provided any reasons for leaving.

Moments before the vote, board member Jamie Glasser thanked Reis for her years of service. Reis, an events coordinator from Churchill, first ran for the board in 2011 and had been campaigning for re-election this fall.

“I would implore you when you take this vote that we don't take any satisfaction, because that's not fair,” said Mike Belmonte, the board's vice president. “We have to understand that Tara was doing what she thought was best at the time she was doing it.”

The vacancy of the school board's top position comes amid public backlash over incidents of violence between staff and students and a civil rights probe by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Last month, officials announced a new commission tasked with studying how to improve the campus climate, ease tensions and strengthen public trust.

“The year has been extremely difficult. Things have occurred. People haven't agreed with what we've done. But throughout that period of time, Tara remained committed to the school district,” Belmonte said, addressing the board before the vote. “She spent countless hours here in meetings. She was the only one of us that was able to make all the adjudication hearings for our kids that need the most help.”

Community members can apply to fill the vacant seat through the duration of Reis' term, which expires at the end of the year. The board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy within 30 days; after that, new officers will be decided, Belmonte said.

Just a couple months ago, Reis was busy campaigning and had secured a spot on the November ballot.

Reis has the option to withdraw her name from the race before the general election, Solicitor Frederick Wolfe said.

Natasha Lindstrom and Jamie Martines are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach Lindstrom at 412-380-8514, or on Twitter @NewsNatasha. Reach Martines at 724-850-2867, or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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