Tuesday, March 26, 2013

School Year Ends Early For Quinn

Tonight at its March 26 business meeting, the Methacton School Board announced that they had held several executive sessions in February and March to review material gathered by the special investigative counsel hired November 1 2012  to look into allegations of an inappropriate relationship between superintendent Timothy Quinn and Director of Curriculum, Diane Barrie. Those allegations first came to light via a Fox 29 news report and which I’ve written about previously.   
The special investigative team spent more than 4 months gathering evidence. My understanding is that hearings for each to review the findings were to have been conducted in late February or this month, but that both elected to resign before those hearings could be held. Had they gone forward as scheduled, a report of the results would have been subject to public disclosure, which they presumably wanted to avoid.
In light of the findings of that investigation and the tendered resignations, the Board voted 8 to 0 (board member Cathy Barone was absent) to accept them.
Not all the legal bills are in, but the cost of this investigation is estimated to be over $20,000 at this point.  
Quinn’s tenure at Methacton since he arrived in 2008 was tumultuous. Many I’ve talked to while campaigning for office believed Quinn received the support of former school board president Jim Van Horn and the board at that time primarily because he supported the construction of the controversial 5/6 school, Skyview, circa 2007-2008 (completed in 2010) and which I understand sits half-empty today (while we don’t start paying down principal on the construction costs til 2018). Since then, Quinn was in the middle of the continuing debates over the need for, and cost of, new turf fields and lights for the football field. The prom drinking scandal two years ago, an unexpected change to the dress code and arrest of a teacher for having an inappropriate relationship with a student all occurred during his tenure.
Quinn’s original four year contract would have expired in 2012, but was renewed early in July 2010 for another five years, scheduled to end in August 2015. The Board indicated it would pay out both Quinn and Barrie’s contracts only through the end of this year.  As far as I am aware, Barrie has not been offered the position she applied for at the Intermediate Unit; I don't know if that has been filled or if it remains open.
No one was appointed acting superintendent. With a primary election coming in less than 8 weeks, perhaps the current board wants to await its outcome before deciding when to move forward with naming an acting superintendent or a replacement.
While Quinn undeniably had his strengths and accomplishments during his time at Methacton, it is unfortunate that his unceremonious departure and the reason behind it is likely to be what he is most remembered for.  
The Fox 29 update on this topic appears here:

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