The Greater Latrobe School Board was unable to vote on a new president Monday night.
So, they’re going to try again on Thursday.
Directors were deadlocked, 3-3, through four rounds of voting at Monday’s annual reorganization meeting. The board is tentatively scheduled to reconvene for another reorganization meeting, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, followed by the Committee of the Whole meeting, set for a 7:30 p.m. start.
“Generally, in 37 years as a parliamentarian we don’t run into these situations very often,” district solicitor Ned Nakles said. “Public school code requires that every school board in Pennsylvania must reorganize in the first week of December and give the oath of office to new members and then the next step is for the school board to elect a president and vice president.
“We have some absentees on the board, so instead of having nine members, which assures a 5-4 vote, we have six members, which doesn’t assure a majority vote.”
Newly-elected Paul McCommons was absent on Monday, along with Mike O’Barto and Dr. Michael Zorch. Current board president Eric Hauser was present, along with Heidi Kozar, Steven LoCascio, Susan Mains, Merle Musick and William Palmer.
LoCascio was elected temporary president on Monday, while certificates of election were read by Nakles for Hauser, Mains, McCommons, Musick and Zorch, who were elected to the board in November. Nakles administered the oath of office to incumbent and newly-elected board members, including McCommons earlier in the day at Latrobe Elementary School.
Kozar nominated Hauser for what would be his third year as board president. Mains nominated Zorch for board president.
Hauser, Kozar and Palmer voted for Hauser, while LoCascio, Mains and Musick voted for Zorch, creating the 3-3 deadlock. The board voted four times with the same 3-3 result before going into a 20-minute executive session.
“By law, we would’ve needed four votes to elect a president,” Nakles said. “Since we have not completely reorganized, we cannot go forward with the Committee of the Whole. What we’re probably going to do is to adjourn this meeting and probably move it back to Thursday when we hope that we can have the entire board attend and vote. We will be doing our business on Thursday as a result of this.”
That business could include a new transportation contract. The board held a public information session on the transportation contract Monday and did not vote as Greater Latrobe Business Administrator Dan Watson gave a presentation from the district’s point of view regarding the contract status followed by almost an hour of public comment from the overflow, standing room-only crowd of 50-plus, who packed Greater Latrobe’s Center for Student Creativity.
“We are hopeful that there will be action (on the contract) Thursday if indeed that’s the day it’s scheduled,” Nakles told the crowd. “You’re all here because you’re interested in the transportation contract. We’re going to take comments after the presentation just as we would’ve if the meeting had taken place rather than send everybody home and hope you all come back Thursday because we don’t think that would be fair to you.”