YATESVILLE — Tuesday’s regular Pittston Area School Board meeting was punctuated by sharp disagreements and heated internal debate.
In what, at first, seemed like a mere formality, board member Anthony Guariglia made a motion for the board to formally accept an “organizational chart.”
The chart is a simple document mapping out a specific hierarchical order of employees or officials in an organization. The charts are typical in government structures and large corporations, but the school district had been operating without one.
Superintendent Michael Garzella had sought to have one created, and met informally with most of the school board members to discuss the chart and present a tentative model.
At Tuesday’s meeting, however, Guariglia presented an alternate organizational chart that he contends incorporated Garzella’s initial chart while enhancing it. That chart was adopted by a 5-4 vote.
Guariglia was joined in accepting the new chart by board members Ken Bratlee, Joe Donahue, Bruce Knick and Charles Sciandra. Board members Michael Gorzokowski, Joseph Kelly, Robert Linskey and Marilyn Starna each voted against.
Linskey, who had not met with Garzella, or any board member, about the chart before Tuesday’s meeting, decried the motion. He accused the members who approved it of failing to act in a transparent matter.
Linskey made and then withdrew a motion, stating that no board member could discuss district matters with the superintendent outside of official meetings and work sessions.
After the meeting, Garzella said he repeatedly requested that meetings be made at the convenience of board members. He said some board members came in groups, although always cautious to avoid having enough members present to create a majority.
He said he was never contacted by Linskey to confirm any meeting time.
The debates over the need for an organizational chart spurred another debate about the need for additional administrative support at the high school level. This prompted Gorzokowski to recommend that current Pittston Area Primary Center principal and former high school principal Janet Donovan be returned to her position as high school principal.
Kelly and Linskey supported the move, while all other board members voted against, most of them citing budget uncertainties as the sole reason for their vote.
In other matters, the board intends to conduct a hearing for public input on the potential closing of the Pittston Area Kindergarten Center on Walnut Street in Dupont. Garzella said the district had in no way made any decision about the fate of the aging building.
Because of numerous maintenance issues, the closure of the building could bring cost savings to the district. Garzella said the school’s students could be absorbed into the Primary Center without problems.