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Leetonia BOE settles claim related to harassment

LEETONIA — The Leetonia school board this week approved a settlement agreement and resignation from the district’s special education director regarding a claim of a hostile work environment related to alleged sexual harassment.

The board accepted the resignation of Halley Fast effective July 1 and approved a settlement agreement of $90,000 in response to her claim the board is liable for a hostile work environment based on a former employee’s alleged sexual harassment of her. The agreement allows for $53,959 to be paid to Fast and $36,041 be paid to Green Haines Sgambati Co. LPS for attorney’s fees and expenses.

The settlement is an attempt on the part of the board to minimize the cost of disputing the claim and is not intended as an admission of liability by the board, which denies any misconduct, wrongdoing or liability.

According to a public records request, Fast was one of three female school employees who accused former schools Superintendent Rob Mehno of sexual harassment in November 2019. Mehno, who had been superintendent for 10 years, faced a criminal investigation for the claims, but was never charged. In the third year of a five year contract, he agreed to a contract buyout of $60,000 in February 2020.

In other business, the board approved a 50-cent hourly raise for all Title tutors, Title aides and IDEA aides; and set the substitute rates for the 2021-2022 school year at $100 per day for teachers, $14.75 per hour for bus drivers, $9.75 per hour for aides, $11.75 per hour for custodians and $10.75 per hour for cafeteria, secretarial and paraprofessionals.

The board also Granted supplemental contracts for the 2021-2022 school year to Ian Davis as boys basketball volunteer coach, Kaitlyn Deal as junior high volleyball coach, Kaitlyn Deal as softball assistant coach, John Deal as head softball coach, Anna Primavera as junior varsity volleyball coach and Deirdre Sadler as sophomore class advisor.

Additionally the board approved for the 2021-2022 school year Brandon Frenger and Catherine McCoy as Title Tutors; Gail Zoppelt, Rick Davis and Lori Yuhaniak as Title Aides; Lisa Miletta as a custodian; and Kathy Bennett for Project Lead the Way.

The board also approved as 2021 Summer Learning Series personnel Amy Gibson as coordinator for grades seven through 10 at $25 per hour, Terry Rockwell as bus driver for $25 per hour, Jennifer Shar as aide at $20 per hour and Brad Katzman for Project Lead the Way training at $35 per hour.

khowell@salemnews.net

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