Norwin's tough choices
The Norwin School Board is facing some tough choices.
It's about to raise taxes 2.4 mills on property owners in North Huntingdon, Irwin and North Irwin; at the same time, it is eliminating an administrative “position” and shuffling administrators.
Neither move is popular with the public. The proposed tax hike from 77.6 mills would be the seventh consecutive year that Norwin has increased property taxes.
The school board on May 21 also made a decision to shuffle administrators — and then reversed itself in the face of public opposition May 30.
Doreen Harris has been serving as coordinator of educational programs for the past three years. That position is being eliminated for next school year.
Upon the recommendation of the administration, the school board agreed 8-1 to reassign Harris as an assistant principal at Hillcrest Intermediate School.
A handful of people protested that Harris was being returned as a principal. She once worked at Stewartsville Elementary. Resident Tiffany Harabuda told the board that Harris was “unjust and abusive to many people.”
The district approved a $72,000 settlement in a 2014 lawsuit against Harris and the school district in which a retired janitor claimed that he had been a victim of Harris' harassment dating to 2006, as well as age discrimination.
Others complained of having negative experiences with Harris in her current role, for which she is paid close to $120,000.
After the board's reversal, another administrator who Harris was to replace at Hillcrest, Lisa Banasick, will remain as assistant principal instead of becoming associate director of special education and special services.
The board expects to revise Harris' assignment June 25.
This raises questions.
The district eliminated a position, that of a coordinator of educational programs and services. But it didn't reduce the number of personnel.
We're not sure what the district accomplished.
It leaves many curious as to what position and responsibilities Harris will be given in the new school year.
Norwin's under the same fiscal constraints as most school districts.
And nobody likes to pay more taxes or wants to see anyone lose their job.
Let's hope that Norwin's board makes the right choices, even if they are difficult ones.