Sto-Rox nepotism policy to be viewed tonight

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While in the process of fine-tuning policies this year, members of the Sto-Rox school board are expected tonight to introduce a districtwide policy on nepotism.

The policy would prohibit the hiring of any school personnel related to a member of the school board or any district employee.

The first of three readings of the policy is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria, Valley Street, Stowe.

According to the one-page policy, the intent "is to prevent nepotism in the hiring of school employees and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."

Superintendent Michael Panza spoke about the proposed policy.

"There is a perception out there that some people get hired by whom they know, not what they know," he said. "We want people to know that we are hiring people based on qualifications."

While many districts have adopted such policies, solicitor Gregory Gleason said, "I've never seen one that is this expansive."

Problems in the past accusations of nepotism have been publicly expressed prompted the drafting of the policy. Some directors even ran for their school board seats on the promise of making sure nepotism does not happen.

"This is Sto-Rox," said Director Adrienne Roberts during last week's agenda review meeting.

"Every time you turn around we're getting slapped in the face."

Additionally, many residents of the tightknit communities of McKees Rocks and Stowe are related to each other by blood or marriage.

"It's all relative here, literally and figuratively," said Director Edward Maritz.

The term relative is defined as a parent, foster parent, parent-in-law, child, spouse, brother, sister, foster brother, foster sister, grandparent, grandchild, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt, first cousin, step-relative or person who shares residence with an employee.

The proposed policy goes a few steps further, stating "no applicant for any paid employment who is a relative of a former school board member shall be employed until a separation of one year of the relative's board [membership] has transpired from the time the relative board member has left their service to the board."

The policy also goes as far as making sure current employees who are related will no longer have direct supervisory responsibility over each other.

These situations will be combated by reassigning the supervised or supervisory employee.

Current district employees will not have to worry about the policy affecting them if a relative is elected to the board at a future date.

Directors will consider the policy and suggest changes to it during the next three meetings. A policy must be read and voted on publicly at least three time before being adopted and added to a school's code.

education - neigh_west

Sonja Reis, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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