Austintown Schools spent over $16K to investigate employee spat

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Austintown Local School District paid an independent company $16,175.60 to investigate a disagreement between Superintendent Vince Colaluca and school board member Harold Porter, according to Austintown Local Schools Treasurer Mary Ann Herschel.

A copy of the investigation report obtained by WKBN shows that the conflict, which began in May 2012, revolves around Porter sending emails to Colaluca and his administrators stating that Colaluca was not doing his job, specifically in regards to how he handled reports of student bullying.

Copy of independent investigation

According to the report, during an October 22, 2013 board meeting:

“Mr. Porter criticized Mr. Colaluca, stating that he was seen at an Austintown/Boardman middle school football game wearing a Boardman shirt and said that his mortgage is paid by the red and blue and not the white and maroon. He cited former dictators Saddam Hussein and Maummar Gaddafi and said that dictatorships come to an end when people rise up. He said that politicians and diapers have one thing in common: They both should be changed regularly and for the same reasons. He closed his remarks by saying, ‘The status quo has to go.'”

On October 23, 2013, Colaluca filed a harassment report against Porter, according to the report.

The investigation found that Colaluca’s harassment complaint was valid. Porter also alleged that Colaluca violated executive session rules by talking to a trustee about an issue raised at a board meeting, an allegation which the report found to be false.

Independent investigation exhibits

The relationship between Superintendent Vincent Colaluca and board member Harold Porter has been less than cordial and has spilled into public on occasion. In October, the two men filed police reports against each other.

In a statement released Monday, the board said it’s now time to move on. Board President Kathy Mock would not speak on camera, but gave a written statement saying Colaluca and Porter will be encouraged to consider “professional communication” and “mutual respect.”

More info: complete statement from school district

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