Keystone Central School Board Members Stage Unannounced Session

BALD EAGLE TOWNSHIP – A number of Keystone Central School Board members met with the board’s two yet-to-be sworn in newcomers in a closed-door meeting at the district’s administration building late Monday afternoon.

Therecord-online learned of the meeting on Monday but a reporter was unable to gain access to the administration building. Later board vice-president Jeff Johnston confirmed the meeting. Johnston did not attend, stating, “Since this meeting was called neither by the president (Butch Knauff) or vice-president (Johnston) of the board and that I had no knowledge as to what topics were being discussed, I chose not to attend in order to not run the risk of possibly violating the Sunshine law.”

The law prevents governmental boards from holding sessions where a majority is present without previously advertising the meeting and opening it to the public. In the school district’s case it would take five of nine current board members to be present. According to what therecord-online could determine, the session was attended by four current board members Charlie Rosamilia, Billy Rupert, Debra Smith and Tracy Smith.

Also reported present were newly-elected Jennifer Bottorf and Eric Probert. Both are to be sworn in as new members at the board’s reorganizational meeting Thursday night. Current board members not present on Monday, in addition to Johnston, were Roger Elling, Knauff and Wayne Koch. Knauff’s term on the board will end upon Probert’s swearing-in Thursday.

District superintendent Kelly Hastings told therecord-online she “was not contacted about nor invited to any meetings.” Hastings in August had informed the board she would be stepping down in March of next year, citing personal reasons. The get-together was announced to board members through an email sent from the district offices last Friday, according to a board source.

One non-attendee described the Monday meeting as a “meet and greet” for the soon-to-be new board members; therecord-online did not get a return call from one of those present on Monday.

The district is faced with cutting up to $10 million from its current budget for next year and a public discussion on the topic is scheduled for the Central Mountain High School cafeteria Thursday at 5 p.m., prior to the annual reorganizational meeting.