Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Affirms Kinavey Firing Former Superintendent's Lawyer Files Appeal in State Court

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Judge Affirms Kinavey Firing Former Superintendent's Lawyer Files Appeal in State Court

Article excerpt

Nearly five years after the West Jefferson Hills school board fired former Superintendent Terry Kinavey, Common Pleas Judge Alan Hertzberg has affirmed the board's actions.

The process that led to Mrs. Kinavey's undoing started with raucous school board meetings in August 2009 and was followed by a tense public termination hearing held in two sessions, each spanning several months.

But the final court action, in which Judge Hertzberg found the school board's actions were supported by "substantial evidence" was filed quietly on June 5.

"Obviously this has been a very long process and we are pleased that it got to this point," said West Jefferson solicitor Ira Weiss.

Mrs. Kinavey's attorney Ernest DeHaas has filed an appeal in Commonwealth Court.

He had no comment on Judge Hertzberg's ruling other than to say his appeal makes the same arguments as were made to the lower court - that Mrs, Kinavey's constitutional rights were violated and that the board's decision was not based on substantial evidence.

Mrs. Kinavey was placed on administrative leave in September 2009 and fired a year later The board cited neglect of duty and immorality for the firing. Those causes are among the specific reasons for firing a superintendent based on the state school code.

The charges stemmed from her actions surrounding the hiring of Jefferson resident Denise Breisinger as a reading and English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School and allegations that Mrs. Kinavey plagiarized letters she sent to students, staff and parents for the beginning of the 2009 school year and in a column she submitted for the district newsletter.

A district investigation and testimony at her termination hearing disclosed that Mrs. Kinavey removed Mrs. Breisinger's name from a draft agenda without the board's knowledge in August 2009 after Mrs. …

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