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Former board members call for action against Meyersdale superintendent

November 8, 2018

Two former board members are calling for the demotion of the Meyersdale Area School District’s superintendent.

At a public meeting Wednesday night, former school board members Diann and Brad Troutman addressed the board, calling for action to be taken against Superintendent Tracey Karlie in the wake of DUI charges.

Karlie was charged with the misdemeanor crime in October for an incident that allegedly occurred in late August along Matlick Road in Summit Township. That incident involved a one-vehicle crash. He has since waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the case.

Diann Troutman, who served on the board from December 2015 to January 2017, said that she was saddened by the news of Karlie’s charges and that she empathizes with his family, students and faculty.

“I’m just very relieved and thankful that it didn’t involve any serious injury or loss of life,” she said of the wreck.

She asked the board when the individual members found out about the charges, and if the matter would have been kept quiet were it not for the news media.

District solicitor Ronald Repak, of Beard Legal Group in Altoona, said that for incidents of illegal behavior, the superintendent has 72 hours to alert the school board.

“All timelines were met,” Repak told Diann Troutman. “All requirements were met internally.”

The Troutmans, who are married, said they aren’t calling for Karlie’s resignation or his firing, but they feel that the board should not renew his contract when it is up in 2020. They said they also believe he should not be given board-approved pay raises in the coming school years, bringing his annual salary from $120,600 for the 2018-19 school to $122,900 for 2019-20.

Lastly, they said the board should not give him a satisfactory evaluation.

“I do not feel that there is any possible way for Dr. Karlie to receive a satisfactory evaluation this year, considering his recent DUI charges,” Brad Troutman, who spent 16 years on the board, told the current members. “I do not feel his salary should be increased or his contract renewed based on his recent personal actions.”

After the meeting, Karlie said he didn’t have a response to the Troutmans.

Before the couple spoke, board President Ron Donaldson read a prepared statement that he said the board and counsel crafted during a Nov. 1 closed-door session.

Reading the statement, Donaldson said the board takes the matter seriously and that everything is being closely monitored. He said the board has to be tight-lipped about details of its action, due to the situation being a personnel matter.

He added that he hopes the news doesn’t distract from the district’s mission of achieving “great accomplishments every day.”

“With that being said, the superintendent has been very open and transparent throughout the process and has expressed a willingness to share his personal experience to educate students in making better decisions,” he read. “We cannot change the events of the past; however, we can use these events as a learning tool on how to become a better leader.”

In Karlie’s contract, obtained by the Daily American via a Right-to-Know request, the document states that the superintendent can be terminated for reasons specified in Section 1080 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code. Section 1080 states that superintendents and assistant superintendents can be removed from office “for neglect of duty, incompetency, intemperance, or immorality,” according to the state Legislature’s website.

When asked about the section, Repak said that he couldn’t talk about a personnel matter.

“I am aware of the provision,” he added.

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