McKeesport teacher rehired at the top of district's pay scale

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A former fourth-grade teacher who was fired from the McKeesport Area School District after having sex with another teacher on campus during school hours has been hired back at an annual salary of $87,001.

Angela DiBattista was rehired at the top of the district's teacher pay scale, based on her educational background, for the upcoming school year, McKeesport Education Association president Matthew Mols said, after an almost nine-year legal battle with the district.

Ms. DiBattista had been teaching with the district for over a decade when she was suspended without pay in January 2006 and fired in February 2011 on immorality charges after she testified during a judicial proceeding that she had sex with former teacher union president and fellow teacher Patrick Collins, while other teachers stood as lookouts.

Mr. Collins, who had been with the district more than 30 years, retired with a $58,000 settlement and his teaching certificate intact while Ms. DiBattista was dismissed.

Commonwealth Court judges, however, ruled the district was wrong in using her testimony to fire her because of an "implied agreement" between Ms. DiBattista and district officials that she would be immune to punishment in exchange for her testimony.

The Commonwealth Court opinion did not specifically demand the district rehire her. The state Supreme Court refused to hear the district’s appeal of the decision in March.

The district rehired her as a Title I math specialist at Founders Hall Annex, formerly White Oak Elementary School, where the district's sixth-grade students are housed. Her first day back with the district was Aug. 25.

"She was returned to her position based upon the decision made through due process of the legal system," Mr. Mols said. "Her legal situation did not affect her performance as a teaching professional, which is a top priority for us."

She and her attorney are still negotiating the terms of her compensation for back pay. Before being rehired by the district, Ms. DiBattista was working as a dog groomer.

District administrators have declined comment and refused to provide her salary.



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