West Jefferson Hills school board upholds findings on Kinavey firing

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As the West Jefferson Hills School District gets ready for a new school year with a new superintendent, the saga of fired superintendent Terry Kinavey continues.

At Tuesday's special meeting, the board adopted a resolution affirming its previous findings that it had legitimate grounds to dismiss her.

Mrs. Kinavey was fired by the board in September 2010 after a termination hearing. She was accused of improperly intervening in the hiring of a teacher and not being forthcoming about her actions.

Mrs. Kinavey appealed the board's adjudication to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. As a result, the court ordered that the case be remanded to the board for "a full and complete record."

The board then held an additional seven hearings from October 2012 to May 2013.

In adopting Tuesday's resolution, the board affirmed its previous findings. The resolution will be forwarded to Common Pleas Court.

After the meeting, Lisa M. Colautti, an associate with the law offices of Ira Weiss, district solicitor, said the court will review all of the evidence and render a decision.

In other news, the board accepted the resignation of Hamsini Rajgopal, the district's director of human resources, effective July 29.

She held the post for the past six years.

"This was quite sudden and unexpected," board President Anthony Angotti said in a prepared statement.

Mrs. Rajgopal also served as acting superintendent and acting assistant superintendent the past few years while remaining director of human resources.

Since Mrs. Kinavey was placed on leave in 2009, the district had four interim or acting superintendents.

Mr. Weiss earlier advised the board that there was an element of risk in appointing a permanent superintendent until the lawsuits filed by Mrs. Kinavey were resolved.

"The prudent course is to have an acting superintendent," he had said.

Michael A. Panza became the new superintendent on July 1, 2013.

Although the lawsuit regarding her firing remains, Mrs. Kinavey's five-year contract expired in June 2013, thereby ending the risk, Mr. Weiss said at the time of Mr. Panza's appointment.

education - neigh_south

Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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