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A third Butler Area School District administrator has resigned in the midst of an investigation involving lead-tainted water that forced closure of an elementary school.
Mary Wolf, assistant superintendent, resigned effective Monday night, the district's solicitor Tom King said.
Board members voted 6-3 to accept the resignation. Former superintendent Dale Lumley and maintenance director Glenn Terwilliger stepped down earlier this month.
King also released an internal investigation conducted by attorney Michael Witherel, that outlines possible misconduct among district employees including unauthorized access and removal of emails.
“The potential misconduct related to the employees' alleged failure to perform their respective job responsibilities; their alleged unauthorized access to the district's email system; their alleged unauthorized retrieval and removal of emails, including the emails of board members, legal counsel and others; and, their alleged making of false statements, under oath and during the investigation,” Witherel wrote in his report.
He was hired by the school board to investigate on Jan. 24.
The school district announced in a Jan. 20 letter to parents that students and staff at Summit Elementary School had been told not to drink the water from a well on the property because it was contaminated with lead. But the possible cover-up of the lead problems might date back to August.
A federal lawsuit against the school district contends that Lumley and administrators concealed information for months that Summit Elementary School's water supply contained dangerous amounts of lead.
Further testing last week found E. coli bacteria in the well that supplies the school, prompting the building to be closed indefinitely. Students at Summit are attending classes in the shuttered Broad Street School until the water issues are resolved.
The lawsuit, filed as a class-action complaint on behalf of all of the students, alleges the district and Lumley took no action to correct the water issue and didn't inform families. Their lack of action created “a school full of poisonous drinking water,” the lawsuit contends.
“While we commend the district for conducting an internal review we are shocked to learn of the steps high-ranking Butler school officials took to cover up this disaster,” Pittsburgh attorney Brendan Lupetin, the plaintiff's attorney, said Tuesday after reading the report. “It is time to step up and make things right for the children that unwittingly suffered through all of this.”
King declined further comment on the report, but said the board also voted to explore possibly servicing Summit with public water in the fall. Summit was currently the only operating school with well water.
King told the Tribune-Review Tuesday that Wolf will use sick days and vacation through June 30, to remain on the payroll. She has been assistant superintendent since 2014.
The report indicated that separate investigations by the Butler County District Attorney's office and state Department of Environmental Protection are ongoing.
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