WJAC-TV: School Board Battles Misleading Email, Leaked Internal Evaluations

PHILIPSBURG – School board members at the Philipsburg-Osceola Area School District told WJAC-TV that they are focusing on filling three vacancies and moving forward in the wake of speculative emails and scathing internal evaluations that were released to the public.

Board members voted to allow Dr. Stephen Benson’s contract as district superintendent to expire in June of 2013, but a growing number of district residents are urging officials to buy out his contract now, citing sliding PSSA, SAT and AP scores.

“Dr. Benson has had five years to institute his program, and our scores have not improved and in almost each one of those three testing situations, they’ve become worse,” said Hardy.

A copy of a printed email — sent by a teacher and obtained by WJAC-TV — urged parents to voice their opinions at upcoming board meetings while suggesting that the district was looking to drop advanced placement classes.

Acting board President Rebecca Timchak told WJAC-TV by phone on Wednesday that the email about AP courses is incorrect and that she has contacted state troopers in Philipsburg with concerns that someone took internal copies of Benson’s evaluations and mailed them to district residents and the media, including WJAC-TV.
“Four or five teachers at the high school, in the spring, had negative evaluations. And before anyone else knew about it, the whole community knew,” said Hardy. “They have some problems with that. Obviously, when you’re talking about evaluations, you surely don’t want the community to know about it before the individual.”
District officials said discussions about filling the three vacant school board seats are expected at the next meeting on Oct. 22.



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