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Democratic Majority Challenges $700,000 Severance for Superintendent by Ousted Conservative Board

by Chloe Baker
4 comments
School Board Controversy

In Pennsylvania’s Central Bucks School District, a Democratic-majority school board is contesting a $700,000 severance package hastily approved for Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh by the previous board. This previous board, which had implemented bans on books, Pride flags, and transgender student athletes, rushed this decision in their final session after losing their positions to the Democratic slate. Their actions, which the new majority deems illegal, have sparked controversy in this affluent district near Philadelphia, plagued by discord since the 2020 pandemic.

Karen Smith, a re-elected Democrat on the board, expressed the community’s frustration with the ongoing conflicts and negative attention, particularly impacting LGBTQ students and their supporters. The district has already incurred $1.5 million in legal and PR expenses, grappling with lawsuits and discrimination complaints.

The new Democratic majority, holding a 6-3 advantage since the November 7th election, is preparing to challenge Lucabaugh’s severance, which was added to the agenda unexpectedly. This move comes amid a local court petition by Chalfont residents, alleging irregularities in the school board election results.

Student Lily Freeman, openly critical of the board’s LGBTQ policies, criticized the severance as a poor use of funds, highlighting the district’s other pressing needs, such as improved WiFi in schools.

Lucabaugh, absent from the final meeting, and Dana Hunter, the outgoing board president, have not responded to requests for comment. Jeffrey P. Garton, the board solicitor, distanced himself from the severance agreement.

Incoming Democrats highlighted that this payout might breach a 2012 state law capping severance pay for school superintendents. They pointed out the timing of Lucabaugh’s recent 40% salary increase, used to calculate his severance, as particularly troubling.

The severance package includes payments for unused time off, a signing bonus, and extended health insurance for Lucabaugh’s family. Controversially, it also prohibits district investigations into his tenure and allows him to retain his district-issued laptop, provided he deletes school records—a condition recently overruled by a U.S. District Judge in a related legal case.

High school senior Freeman, who has faced threats for her opposition to the board’s policies, remains hopeful that the new board will bring positive changes, expressing a desire for a focus on student needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about School Board Controversy

What is the controversy surrounding the Central Bucks School District’s superintendent’s severance package?

A $700,000 severance package for Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh, hastily approved by a Pennsylvania school board, is being contested by a newly elected Democratic majority. The previous board, known for banning books and restricting LGBTQ rights, made this decision just before leaving office, leading to legal challenges and public outcry.

How has the Central Bucks School District been impacted by its recent board decisions?

The district has been embroiled in controversy and legal challenges, incurring $1.5 million in related costs. Policies implemented by the previous board, such as bans on Pride flags and restrictions on transgender athletes, have sparked significant community discord, especially affecting LGBTQ students.

What are the allegations against the severance package awarded to Superintendent Abram Lucabaugh?

The Democratic-majority board alleges that the $700,000 severance package violates state law, which caps such payments. They also point to the suspicious timing of a 40% salary increase given to Lucabaugh months before, significantly inflating his severance amount.

How has the local community reacted to the school board’s decisions and the superintendent’s severance?

Community reaction has been largely negative, with criticisms focusing on the misuse of district funds and the negative impact of the board’s policies on students, especially those from marginalized groups. Students and residents have voiced their concerns, seeking more accountability and transparency from the board.

What legal actions are being taken against the Central Bucks School District’s board decisions?

The new Democratic board is challenging the legality of the severance package. Additionally, there are ongoing lawsuits and discrimination complaints against the district’s policies, including a court petition filed by local residents alleging election irregularities.

More about School Board Controversy

  • Central Bucks School District
  • Pennsylvania State Education Policies
  • LGBTQ Rights in Schools
  • Legal Challenges in School Administration
  • Superintendent Severance Pay Laws
  • School Board Governance and Controversy

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4 comments

Mike87 November 23, 2023 - 12:05 am

wow, can’t believe they tried to sneak that huge payout in, and right after upping his salary? sounds shady to me…

Reply
EduWatcher November 23, 2023 - 7:14 am

I read about the law on severance pay, doesn’t this clearly break it? how did they think they’d get away with it

Reply
TruthSeeker101 November 23, 2023 - 12:12 pm

Why arent the officials responding? Their silence speaks volumes. We need transparency, not more secrets.

Reply
CBParent November 23, 2023 - 7:22 pm

As a parent in this district, im really worried about our kids, they’re the ones who suffer in these power plays…

Reply

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