School Board Special Meeting WHYs



If you were at tonight’s Special Meeting of the Columbia Borough School District Board of Directors that convened at a SPECIAL TIME of 5:30 pm – it ended at 5:58 pm, you may be asking yourself a series of questions beginning with WHY..

All the current directors attended though two – Barry Ford and Cole Knighton – attended via telephone. Board president Keith Combs presided. The interim director of finance and the director of operations attended; the superintendent and solicitor did not.

During the citizens’ comments portion of the meeting, Frank Doutrich read a narrative from his prepared notes. He stated that the vacant school board director’s position was vacated by Leo Lutz, Jr. on December 8, 2016. He noted that the 30 day period for selecting a school board director was exceeded and he was withdrawing his option to be interviewed for the vacant position.

He further read that he believed he’d followed the letter of the law and obtained more than the 10 required citizen signatures as he relayed his documentation and interest to the courts as specified in the statute:

If, by reason of a tie vote or otherwise, such vacancy shall not have been filled by the board of school directors within thirty (30) days after such vacancy shall have occurred from the qualified electors of the district, the court of common pleas of the proper county, upon the petition of ten or more resident taxpayers, shall fill such vacancy by the appointment of a suitable person from the qualified electors …

He also said that on the advice of council he would not interview for the open position.

The board did interview another candidate, Jenna Irene Geesey. Geesey is a Columbia Borough High School graduate.

Following that interview process, the president asked for a board decision. Kathleen Hohenadel made a motion that the decision to announce a decision ought, instead, be tabled pending the outcome of any legal issues.

Tom Strickler, the recently selected director of operations and long-time (former) school board president injected that the solicitor had instructed that the selection process could proceed.

The board voted unanimously to table the decision and the meeting was adjourned at 5:58 pm.

why… does the director of operations relate instructions from the solicitor rather than the school board of directors president?


… would media correspondents ask questions about tonight’s meeting of the director of operations rather than the school board of directors president?

why … did the school board of directors not act to select a director for the vacant position within the 30 day window as prescribed.

why… why were the citizens in attendance not advised and informed that two board directors would be calling in. Frankly, the audio was so unintelligible that persons with hearing loss found it hard to hear what was being said.


  1. All very good points. I do not have hearing loss and found it extremely difficult to hear Frank Doutrich speaking during the comment section.

  2. There should have been an explanation as to why the delay. I do not think they can use the holidays as an excuse. The solicitor should have sent a representative from their office, if he couldn’t make.

  3. Sounds like the “appointment” was discussed prior to this meeting by at least three people…the board president, the director of operations, and the attorney. They are looking for a way to negate Mr. Doutrich’s claim to the vacant seat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s