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State Senator Bob Mensch.  (file photo for the Independent/Geoff Patton)

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EPSD Superintendent Schilder hypocritically snaps out at board member

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An angry unprofessional outburst by the Superintendent to sitting board member, Ms. Donches, shocked the audience present at Monday night’s school board meeting.

The outburst occurred after a board member called issue to appointing Debra Surdoval as treasurer to the EPSD for 2015-16 school year. This is a yearly appointment and Ms. Surdoval is currently the acting Treasurer.

You may remember that Ms. Surdoval appeared to be potentially involved in the Illegal burying of hazardous waste at the Wescosville elementary school. She is the present EPSD business manager and as such has responsibility of the finances of the district. It was discovered through a “Right to Know” request that Ms. Surdoval along with the former facilities manager approved purchase orders that were directly related to this debacle.

Based on this information and the fact public money from the EPSD budget was spent on this alleged illegal act; Ms. Donches, after saying Ms. Surdoval’s abilities were satisfactory, said she would not be voting to appoint Ms. Surdoval as treasurer based on the above mentioned information.

Immediately after Ms. Donches’s comments, Superintendent Schilder burst out with an angry reprimand of Ms. Donches for mentioning the connection of Ms. Surdoval to the hazardous waste burying debacle in the public meeting. Schilder also called her comments a reprimand of Surdoval and said it is unacceptable to reprimand an administrator in a public meeting.

It is interesting that Superintendent Schilder finds it acceptable to reprimand a board member in public, but calls it unacceptable if a board member does the same. That is called hypocrisy. Ms. Donches did not reprimand the Treasurer, she stated that “generally her work is satisfactory and she respects her knowledge.” after that Ms. Donches mentioned the connection to the illegal hazardous waste burying and based on that she would not vote to appoint Ms. Surdoval as treasurer. That is not a reprimand. On the other hand what Superintendent Schilder did was exactly a purposeful public reprimand.

It seems Superintendent Schilder may have never looked at the EPSD Organizational Chart, so he mistakenly thinks the Administration is above the elected board and he can tell the board what is acceptable or not when in reality the opposite is true. Notice that the citizens are on the top of the pyramid followed by the board members and then the Superintendent, with the rest of the administration spread out below. It is purposely setup this way so your elected official can ask questions, get information needed to make decisions and express themselves and conduct the public business in public for the benefit of the citizen, not for the benefit of the administration.

In this paper’s assessment, Ms. Donches is due a public apology from her subordinate, Dr. Schilder.

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