“He Said, She Said” – Now What? T/E School Board Race Plagued with Legal Questions

“He Said, She Said – What’s Next” says it all!  There continues to be accusations of misinformation and confusion surrounding the T/E School District’s 60-day resignation policy and how this regulation affects the Region II School Director race between candidates Doug Anestad (R) and Kyle Boyer (D).

Local municipal races are important and facts do matter! On October 12, chair of the Tredyffrin Republican Committee Neill Kling provided an opinion on the PA State Law in regards to the 60-day resignation policy.  On October 17, the post was updated to include subsequent responses from candidate Doug Anestad (R) and Kathleen Keohane, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee. In addition to their responses, I sent a personal email to candidate Kyle Boyer (D) inviting him to clarify his position and to ‘set the record straight’ on any inaccuracies. To date, Mr. Boyer has offered no further information nor responded to my email.

After reviewing TTDEMS chair Kathleen Keohane’ response dated October 17, Mr. Anestad believes it contains erroneous information and has sent a follow-up response. Rather than update the original post with this new information, below you will find Kathleen’s response followed by Doug’s.

Again, I need to ask where is Kyle Boyer? He’s the T/E School District school teacher running for the District’s school board. I understand that Mr. Boyer may not want to respond “on a blog” but isn’t the public entitled to some answers before Election Day?

Based on Mr. Anestad’s review (below) of the PA State Law, T/E School District policy and professional employment contract, it appears that there could be repercussions for Mr. Boyer if he were win the Region II School Director race. So … for any voters which be further confused by the “He Said, She Said” narrative, I suggest contacting Dr. Rich Guisick, the T/E School District Superintendent at gusickr@tesd.net.

Kathleen Keohane, Chair of Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee Oct. 17 response to Neill Kling, Chair of Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee regarding the T/E School District Region II School Director race:

Pattye,

Once again it is political season and some members of our community have sought to infuse false narratives into a local school board race that should be non-partisan and focused on the issues. Posted as a blog statement, last Thursday’s letter from Neill Kling, chair of the Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee, calls into question Democratic school board candidate Kyle Boyer’s fitness to serve. Neill chose not to post this letter on his party’s website or in a letter to the editor but on a local blog, which allows for anonymous comments.

All voters should continue to focus on the facts:

Kyle Boyer is fully entitled to run for T/E school board as a resident of the district. He is aware of and appreciates the requirement that he resign his teaching position and leave the district if and when he is elected on November 7, and is fully prepared to do so. As for the 60-day provision in the PA Code, it gives districts the latitude to hold teachers for sixty days. However, there is solid precedent that the T/E school district has released professional staff with much less notice.

Further, T/E School District Regulation 4031, which governs all district employees, states:

The District will accept, without prejudice, the resignation of any employee provided written notice is given at least two (2) weeks in advance of the planned resignation date.

In late winter, Kyle Boyer informed his supervisor of his intention to run for T/E School Board. He did so out of respect for his colleagues and the school district, knowing that it would become public information after nominating petitions had been certified. That initial conversation and the public knowledge of his candidacy constitute over 8 months’ notice of a possible vacancy in his position at Valley Forge Middle School. It is safe to assume that school administrators have planned for that possibility.

Kyle has chosen to continue working as a teacher in the district until voters select him to represent them on the school board. He is a native of T/E, graduated from our schools, and most importantly, is committed to serving our community. Parents have found him to be an excellent teacher and role model for their children. They see him participating in the community (he is a member of FLITE’s advisory board and a member of the Tredyffrin Parks Board). They know him as a person of integrity who has shown he cares about all T/E residents.

Regarding the suggestion of a conflict of interest, Kyle would be serving as a former teacher – with all the experience that entails.  As others have pointed out, his opponent also is a former teacher, along with current school board vice- president, Scott Dorsey. Former school board members who worked as teachers and administrators include Rich Brake, Karen Cruickshank, Sandi Gorman, Kris Graham and Pat Wood, who resigned as TESD Coordinator of Community and Volunteer Services after her election to T/E’s school board.  All have brought an appreciation for the educational process and the systems in which they operated.

Lastly, in response to anonymous comments about Kyle Boyer’s relative youth, remember that Debbie Bookstaber was elected to the T/E school board in 2009. She was 27 years old, a short-time resident of T/E, and had never attended public schools. The TTRC willingly supported her candidacy.

At 29, Kyle is an example of TESD’s great success at preparing its students well to succeed, and to serve their community. With a B.A. from the George Washington University, an M.S.Ed. and M.P.A. from University of Pennsylvania and his principal’s certification from Immaculata University, Kyle has successfully spent his career teaching.  An ordained minister, he currently is pursuing a third Master’s in Divinity from Lutheran Theological Seminary and serves in the local faith community as well.

As one Valley Forge Middle parent commented online, “We should be debating the fitness of the candidates for their prospective positions, not procedural minutiae that are irrelevant to most.”  I agree.

Sandi Gorman, former T/E school board member and head of T&E Care has endorsed Kyle Boyer. She writes, “I’ve honestly never known anyone more qualified and dedicated to the causes he follows.  How lucky for the TESD that he believes that the good of our kids is a cause he’d like to champion!”

Sandi has served the best interests of the children and families of this community for thirty years and has earned our respect and appreciation. She clearly knows the facts and the law. A long-time Republican, she is supporting Kyle. All Region 2 voters should consider doing the same.

Best regards,
Kathleen Keohane
Chair, Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee

T/E School District Region II School Director candidate Doug Anestad (R) follow-up to Kathleen Keohane, Chair, Tredyffrin Township Democratic Committee:

Dear Pattye,

Both Kathleen Keohane and Kyle Boyer are wrong on state law and wrong on T/E school district policy on the fundamental concept of the 60 day rule that anyone with a background in education should understand.

Kathleen Keohane stated that “some members of our community have sought to infuse false narratives into a local school board race that should be non-partisan and focused on the issues”. The irony here is that it is she is the one that is infusing false narratives into the local school board race – and she has struck out on each.

Strike one: a false narrative that states the 60 day rule does not apply to Mr. Boyer because of T/E Regulation 4031. The problem is, T/E Regulation 4031 does not apply to teachers. It is for all non-contractual employees.

The actual T/E Policy that relates to teachers is Policy 4470, Permanent Separation from District Employment (Instructional Employees), under the Instructional Staff section. Policy 4470 clearly states:

Resignations

Certificated Professional employees desiring to resign must present a written resignation within the time period as required by law. If no time period is required by law, then the employee must present a written resignation at least sixty (60) days prior to the effective date of resignation.

Strike two is another false narrative claiming Mr. Boyer’s “initial conversation and the public knowledge of his candidacy constitute over 8 months’ notice” and “It is safe to assume that school administrators have planned for that possibility.”  There is nothing that a school district will do to prepare for a teacher’s exit until they give their actual resignation. School districts have a process in place that starts once a letter of resignation is received, not before – and definitely not based on the possible outcome of a political campaign months away.

Strike three is another false narrative that “there is solid precedent that the T/E school district has released professional staff with much less notice.”  What is missing is that those teachers gave 60 days notice and then were allowed to be released early after the school district went through the hiring process, hired the replacement, and knew when the new teacher could start.

As if those three strikes weren’t enough, there is this: Kyle Boyer signed an individual contract with the school district. That contract clearly stated that he had to give 60 days notice when resigning.

Now let’s summarize as clearly as possible: Kyle Boyer has admitted he will not give 60 days notice to the T/E school district. This means that he has promised to break PA state law, break his personal contract with the T/E school district, and break T/E school district policy.

While I cannot fault Kathleen Keohane for not fully comprehending the 60-day rule, there is really no excuse for someone running on his educational background and educational knowledge not to understand it – especially after it was explicitly pointed out to him long before he was close to the 60 day deadline.

Sincerely,

Doug Anestad

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41 Comments

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  1. Painting the house on a balmy afternoon leaves time for speculation:

    What if Mr. Boyer is pursuing a Trumpian strategy of “no publicity is bad publicity”? He lets Mr. Anestad raise awareness and stimulate supporters to vouch for his teaching ability. In the background, he has a deal with the Board/Administration to extricate himself from his contractual obligations if he is elected.

    [Reply]

    Parent 3 Reply:

    Yes, He has a deal with the Adiministration/Board.

    If this works, and he wins, what’s to stop them from doing the same thing next year. Tap 2 or 3 more teachers. Give them the same deal. Before you know it, most of the Board will be teachers. Why bother having a Board?

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    Deena Ardem Reply:

    You and Ray come off as conspiracy theorists… why would the administration and the board have a deal with him? Doug is currently on the board… are they having secret meetings without him to conspire to get Kyle elected?

    Doug is reeling because he knows he is down in the polls as he got crushed in the primary. I don’t know Kyle and I don’t know if he will do a good job or not, but let’s stop with all the ridiculous slandering and conclusion jumping and back alley deal speculating.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I think that you may be confused. Republican candidate Doug Carlson (Easttown Twp) currently serves on the TE School Board, is President of the Board and is up for re-election. Republican Doug Anestad (Tredyffrin Township, Region II) is NOT the TE School Board and is a first-time candidate.

    Deena Ardem Reply:

    Ok, yes. My mistake. I am not one to regularly be involved in these discussions, especially political ones, but the reactions of many residents has been disheartening to me. Either way, wasn’t Kyle the clear “winner” during the primaries if I am recalling correctly (which I may not be).

    Pattye Reply:

    In the Primary Election, Mr. Boyer won on the Democrat side and Mr. Anestad won on the Republican side. In Pennsylvania, registered Independent voters (like myself) are not allowed to vote in the Primary Election, only the General Election. Because many folks have turned to the Independent third-party, their votes may decide municipal elections in Pennsylvania.

    Abce fghij Reply:

    The Administration/Board have a deal with him because they don’t want Doug Anestad on the Board with them because they can’t control him. They are scared of Mr. Anestad and they know they can control Mr. Boyer.

    Doug Anestad is not “reeling” and Mr. Boyer could stop all this with a simple how do you do.

  2. If Mr Boyer were such an outstanding teacher one would think the public would give him no votes so as not to lose his abilities in the classroom. This is especially true of those who tout his excellence as the reason to force him out of the classroom. Maybe Mr Boyer isn’t so great after all?

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  3. Were you not one of the people that in an earlier blog entry about the teacher contract dispute agreed with and commented on the “fact” that the teachers have very little effect on the rankings and success of the students in the district (parents education, SES, etc are the important factors). If that’s the case, why would you or anyone be worried about replacing him; just plug and play since the quality of the teacher isn’t a huge factor in student success. Many commenters in the other post about this issue were also making the “what about his students” argument; again why are you worried if we have all these great qualified teachers knocking down our doors for a job.

    In regardings to the 60-day rule. I am a former teacher and at one point in my career I moved from one district to another. I was offered the position in the new district two weeks before the school year started. When I informed my current principal of the offer, he told me the district has the right to “hold” me for 60 days, but it’s not something to worry about—that it rarely ever happens and usually only if the district has difficulty filling the position. In seven days, they had hired my replacement and I was released. In Mr. Boyer’s case, worst case scenario is it takes 10-15 days to hire and start someone in his place, at which point his “hold” could be dropped. With all of the daily substitutes in the district every day (and all those teachers still knocking down our doors) it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a long term sub for the remainder of the year

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  4. I just don’t get it, why doesn’t Kyle Boyer speak for himself? All this discussion back and forth but yet nothing from the person in question himself.

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    f & b Reply:

    He hasn’t spoken for himself because there is no way to explain away the fact that he put his name on the ballot knowing the law required and he did he resign by October 4th in order to serve legally. His failure to do so should disqualify him – if not legally, when voters go to the polls. He has set this District up for a major legal mess and troubling conflicts of interest he wins.

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  5. “I hope whomever wins remembers that ultimately our children are impacted by the decisions of the school board”…HeatherM.

    I wholeheartedly agree.

    With that said, why was the Education Committee meetings scheduled all last year for 1pm?
    In other words, how can working moms and dads attend an Education meeting–the most important Committee meeting impacting our kids. They can’t.

    Only after the school board was petitioned to have evening Education meetings, so EVERYONE CAN ATTEND, did they “permit two meetings this year. But they are now back to 1pm. Why?

    This highlights the lack of transparency that is desperately needed from a school board that has been under siege with real issues as exposed in our local media during the past years.

    This is yet another reason why parents and taxpayers are concerned about the lack of transparency surrounding Mr Boyer’s candidacy for TE’s SB.

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Re the next Education Committee meeting:

    Mrs. Murphy announced at the Finance Committee that the reason for the time change to 1pm on 11/1 is that the consultant presenting the enrollment estimates is not available in the evening and that no other nearby evening date could be made to work. Since enrollment is an important driver of cost and its consequences, perhaps those that can’t attend could ask the Board to put a video of the meeting on the website.

    And OT: while I was looking at the calendar I noticed a “Special School Board Meeting at VFMS” for November 8th (day after the election) at 7:30pm. Does anyone know what that is about?

    [Reply]

    Ray Clarke Reply:

    Hint: Is it possible that Board members might want to keep voters in the dark regarding their position on a time-sensitive item affecting 70% of the cost structure?

    [Reply]

    CHV Reply:

    Ray…announced at the end of Mondays SB meeting
    Its to discuss the FACT FINDING REPORT

    Pattye Reply:

    The Special School Board Meeting is Wednesday, Nov. 8 at:
    Valley Forge Middle School
    105 W. Walker Road
    Wayne, PA 19087

    Concerned TE Parent & Tax Payer Reply:

    Thanks Mr Clarke.
    However, from personally knowing how difficult it was to get the Education Committee to be held in the evening, and all the resistance involved, pardon me for my skepticism.

    To have the vendor dictate when they make the presentation, doesn’t make sense.
    After all, the same vendor, Sundance, made presentations during the WestChester School redistricting project, in the evening.

    [Reply]

  6. mainlinemedianews.com

    Arthur Wolk, attorney in Lower merion who won a taxpayer lawsuit against LM School District, has petitioned the court representing 18 citizens, to have all 9 members of the LM School Board removed. He’s asking that the Board members repay all money the District has paid to two law firms and the petition asks that both firms be terminated.

    Wolk states that the Since he did not file a suit against the School Board Directors, they should not have hired a private law firm or they should have gone to their private insurance company and asked them for private counsel. He’s asking that the District’s Solicitor also be terminated.

    Wolk cites Judge Joseph Smyth’s order stating that the District illegally raised taxes by claiming budget deficits each year and then ended up with surpluses.

    He is also asking that the court prevent the Board members for running again for the next 5 years.

    [Reply]

  7. He hasn’t spoken for himself because there is no way to explain away the fact that he put his name on the ballot knowing the law required he resign by October 4th in order to serve legally. His blatant failure to follow the law should disqualify him from the race – if not legally, when voters go to the polls.

    He has set this District up for a major legal mess and troubling conflicts of interest if he wins. I will vote for Doug Anestad – hopefully, he wins and brings his critical eye and independence to the Board. Mr. Boyer will continue to teach.

    [Reply]

  8. Everyone keeps asking why Mr. Boyer hasn’t responded. Perhaps he knows that this is a slanted forum run by a friend of Mr. Anestad. Instead of asking Mr Boyer why hasn’t the District been contacted? I’m sure Mr. Guisick could clear everything up, if anyone took the time to ask him. But let’s just keep throwing around “theories” without any real substance and not discuss the actual issues that affect our School District.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    I came to know Mr. Anestad two years ago, as a result of attending school board meetings. I am lucky to have many friends, including Mr. Anestad. To further clarify, Kathleen Keohane, chair of the Tredyffrin Democratic Committee is a close friend, spanning 10+ years.

    Given the accusatory claims of your comment, not sure why I am bothering to respond … however, so you know I did reach out to Dr. Gusick on the topic of the 60-day resignation regulation. He responded to last night with this email, “Each teacher’s contract includes language about 60-day notification. That said, teachers routinely wish to resign at dates sooner than 60 days, even though most recognize that the District can hold them to the requirement. When this happens, we always release the teacher from the 60 notice as soon as we find a qualified and desirable replacement. It is highly unusual for us to be unable to find a replacement, so holding teachers to the requirement is exceedingly rare. This has been the case in T/E for at least 25 years. It is also common practice among school districts, as evidenced by the considerable number of teachers who begin working at T/E from other schools prior to the passing of 60 days.”

    [Reply]

    Deena Ardem Reply:

    So to summarize: if he wins and resigns, it won’t be an issue as it is common practice to release employees prior to the 60 day period. As Dr. Gusick stated it happens all the time with teachers leaving and coming to this district (and most others).

    These was made out to be a big deal, but seems to be a non issue.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    The 60-day notification requirement is contained within Mr. Boyer’s contract with District. Although Dr. Gusick states that the District could hold the teacher to the 60-day requirement, he further says that if there is a qualified and desirable replacement, that requirement may be waived. If Mr. Boyer wins the election and then resigns, the District will need to have a replacement in less than 30 days so as to allow Mr. Boyer to take his school board position on Dec. 4.

    From The West Reply:

    Deena Ardem,

    Actually, it is a big deal. We are now months into the school year, meaning that suitable replacements may not be easily found. Further, it is unfair “for the children” that Mr. Boyer claims to hold so dear. Finally, everything Mr. Anestad has said is true: the law, the school district and Mr. Boyer’s contract ALL require him to resign with 60 days notice. He hasn’t and has now made it clear that he intends to violate all these things if it suits his political future (the children be damned.) And remember: this is AFTER Mr. Boyer already broke his word (lied) when he pledged to resign in plenty of time to comply with these things so there would be no possible issues. I understand Mr. Boyer’s only tactic at this point is to try and change the story, but these are all FACTS.

    From afar Reply:

    This whole thing is pre planned. The real question is why would anyone give up a good job to serve unpaid on a school board unless they have support and a job in the event they win. Gusick has this worked out and it’s wrong.

    [Reply]

  9. Plus this question was asked by a member of the audience at Monday night’s school board meeting.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    Thank you, yes the question was asked and given a response. The school board meetings are available to the public to watch – see District website.

    [Reply]

  10. Pattye, can we assume that Gusick’s response means the waiver is only if a full-time teacher is hired for Boyer’s job, not a long-term sub at taxpayer’s expense.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Reply:

    That would be my interpretation of his response.

    [Reply]

  11. The fact that people are blindly following Boyer who many of us voters have never met or seen is remarkable. They talk about what a great teacher is but yet he is willing to leave the kids mid-year, is that responsible?

    Many of us in the school district are concerned about our rising taxes, what’s his stand on fiscal responsibility? Where’s his budget experience? How’s he plan to handle the unsettled teacher contract? He goes from teacher to school board member, no surprise how he’ll vote on that contract? All of the drama around this young man, all the unanswered questions and this is leadership?

    [Reply]

  12. Thoughts:

    – Whose decision is the waiver of the 60 day notice requirement? Mr Gusick, whose compensation and job security would be in the hands of the Board and Mr. Boyer? A troubling conflict of interest.

    – Might be difficult to find a “qualified and desirable replacement” in November. Wouldn’t excellent full time teachers have another job, and hence be subject to their own notice requirements, in the middle of the school year?

    Mr. Boyer’s handling of this matter is inexcusable and disqualifying.

    [Reply]

  13. The Board could do something about this but they don’t because they along with the Administration want Mr. Boyer to win the election.

    The Board acts the same, behaves the same and votes the same. Diversity on the Board is needed. Vote for Mr. Boyer’s opponent and vote in all new Board members.

    [Reply]

  14. Recently, The PTO sent out a newsletter. It referred to “being kind”. I wholeheartedly agree, it’s important to be kind, as school kids as well as neighbors.

    So, when I read this blog and see a VFMS Parent comment that the host’s (Patty Benson) comments “echo racism” because they are different than hers. One has to wonder. If you have a different opinion, some people in this community label you, “mean” or “not kind” or worst. To me, these are tactics to silent dissension.

    In the same school, VFMS, just a few years ago, there was a serious case of sexting.
    Some Parents didn’t hear about it until it was all over the local TV News.

    Then, there was “No Gay Thursday’s” at our high school…a year or so later which made national news.

    Then, there was the female Aide (not teacher) who had inappropriate relations with a school boy.

    Most recently, a 67 yr old male, school Aide, (not teacher)allegedly, had inappropriate relations with a 15 yr old girl…in fact, it is further alleged that certain Administrators called her his “girlfriend”.

    With that said, being kind is important. But equally important is having an environment where students and community members should be able to freely question authority and raise their voices–when they see something, say something.

    Finally, when the School Board and Administrators wanted to put up a 6 foot Cyclone fence in front of same, VFMS, Doug Anastead and the majority of the community attended meetings to let our voices be heard. Afterall, the Administrators were not being kind neighbors.

    Given the same situation, would Mr Boyer be able to stand up to the Administrators, with the community? Nothing in my research proves that he could or would. (For the record, that is not being mean, racist or not kind).

    [Reply]

    Insider Reply:

    Concerned TE Parent and tax payers timeline leaves out the hazing incident. A 14 year old boy was held down and threatened with a broomstick, maybe more. The Football Coaching staff was fired for knowing and allowing the behavior. Multiple lawsuits have been filed costing unknown taxpayer dollars.

    Teachers and Administrators knew about relationships between students and staff. When students raised their voices to authority, they were bullied into silence.

    The teachers and Administratirs still have their jobs, The teachers and Administrators still bully students, parents and anyone who raises a voice to question them into silence.

    The lawsuits keep coming.

    [Reply]

  15. “Observer”, please see Kyle J. Boyer for T/E School Board on Facebook…you will see that people are not ” blindly following ” this man. You will see that many voters have seen and met him…so…?

    [Reply]

    From The West Reply:

    Seen and met him? Where?

    He hasn’t visited door to door in neighborhoods as far as I can tell. He refuses to answer for himself on the issue of why he lied and hasn’t resigned. The statement that Mrs. Keohane put out under her name on this blog, he has on his blog under his. Who plagarized and, either way, not very good for a “professional educator.”

    Kyle Boyer has hidden from all but the most set-up political events at which he can’t be questioned or the hosts are already supporting him. He sits on facebook with only his “followers” watching him. He refuses to answer the most basic question of can he serve? At present, he surely cannot because he works in the district.

    And I would like to know who in their right mind, in today’s world, gives up a job making approx. $80,000 a year plus gold-plated benefits to serve on the School Board for nothing? That is either the poor judgement of a 20-something (which we don’t need on our school board) or it is the action of someone who must have a secret deal somewhere to cover himself (which we don’t need on the school board.)_

    Kyle, Kyle: come out wherever you are and answer questions from the public.

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Actually, I’ve seen him and met him twice, and I don’t attend events or do much other than work. One time was door to door, so…

    [Reply]

  16. I have looked at Boyer’s FB page, seems to me he spends much time reviewing his opponents campaign literature but where are the specifics on the issues? And no, other than his FB page and his Twitter account, I still have not heard the man speak!!

    [Reply]

    Me Reply:

    Yes, he has posted a couple of his opponent’s negative smear campaign brochures, and addressed the lies they spread. He has also addressed the 60 day resignation. As have many others (including many people with no experience in teaching or administration).

    [Reply]

    Observer Reply:

    Facts matter, Boyer is a CURRENT teacher in TE and a candidate for the TE School Board. If Boyer wins and resigns from his teaching job, he moves from one side of the table to the other for the teachers contract. In a matter of days, he will go from employment as TE teacher to TE School Board to voting on TE teachers contract. That is a FACT. And the residents are supposed to believe that he will be impartial, yea right.

    Saw the signs that popped up overnight “Stop the Madness Vote Democratic”. I say “Stop the Madness Vote Anestad”.

    [Reply]

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