Ambridge School Board / photo by John Paul

The Superintendent of the Ambridge Area School District is now on “sick leave” for the rest of the school year and the Assistant Superintendent has resigned.

The Ambridge School Board approved “sick leave” for Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Zurchin tonight in a 7-1 vote, with Robert Keber dissenting. Zurchin’s time off will be effective from October 13, 2015 through June 30, 2016; the reason for her leave was not formally made public.

The Board appointed former Ambridge Superintendent Joseph Dimperio to fill in during Zurchin’s leave, paying him a rate of $490 per day with no health benefits.

Jennifer Ruprecht, a parent in the district, took Board members to task about their decision.

“We the people voted you here, you work for us. You’re not doing a very good job,” Ruprecht said. “You shouldn’t be paying our Superintendent sick leave for her stress that is self-induced. Why are we paying for her to be out and for someone to do her job. That is ridiculous and you are wasting our money […] Don’t let this woman who has threatened everyone and bullied everyone to get away with this. You are not teaching our children the right thing.”

Vicky DeBona of Harmony Township also raised concerns about the “sick leave” approved for Superintendent Zurchin. “I just have one question and you can answer it whenever. It says that it’s recommended sick leave for Dr. Zurchin until June 30th, well, how do you know she’s going to be sick that long? I’m being serious. That’s an awful long time. You get the flu it could be 2 days or 2 weeks, but, to be sick for months? Is she getting paid for that? Does she have enough sick leave for that? Or are we going to have to pay for her to be sick and a new superintendent? That’s just my question, how do we know she’s going to be sick that long?”

DeBona’s remarks drew laughs from her fellow citizens in attendance, several of whom could be heard quipping about the absurdity of the board’s vote.

School Board members also approved a settlement agreement for Assistant Superintendent Megan Mealie (the terms of which were not made public) and voted unanimously to accept her resignation effective October 30th. Mealie was suspended in March as an internal investigation was being conducted into allegations involving another female teacher.

Several in attendance at the meeting spoke up in support of Mealie, including her mother and her sisters Laura Nichi and Terry Mylan (who is a candidate for school board).

“I have known Megan Mealie since she was a little girl,” said Kathleen Sabol of Ambridge. “I’ve watched her grow, I’ve watched her become a teacher, and then I watched her become the principal of the junior high school […] When she was coming here to be assistant superintendent I think, along with most people, that was just a stepping stone to her running this district.”

The School Board ended the meeting by adjourning into executive session to discuss additional personnel issues.

As residents of the community exited the meeting and returned to their cars, they were greeted with fliers that had been left on windshields. The leaflets featured Superintendent Cynthia Zurchin’s photo surrounded by stop signs reading, Stop The Bully. “Cindy Zurchin is destroying the Ambridge Area School District and its time for her to leave or be fired,” the paper continued, listing alleged problems she caused during her tenure.

The top of a flier left on vehicles during the Ambridge School Board Meeting
The top of a flier left on vehicles during the Ambridge School Board Meeting
John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Ben Rosenberger
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Ben Rosenberger

Sick leave my ass!

JoenBecky Breig
Guest
JoenBecky Breig

So if one gets 9 months sick leave and the other resigns, who is superintending! And….if that position is so fluid, is it a position that really needs to be filled? Perhaps that position could go away and the money the district saves could go back to the school….perhaps to teach the children some life skills like hammering nails and sewing buttons on clothing….you know…the skills that have been lost due to “technology!

Nikki
Member
Nikki

A former superintendent from Ambridge is filling in for the duration of Zurchin’s sick leave

Randi Short
Guest
Randi Short

Family and Consumer Sciences is a class at the school that does teach those life skills.

JoenBecky Breig
Guest
JoenBecky Breig

Really Randi Short, because I’ve spoken to children in that district who tell me otherwise.

Brian Mecchia
Guest
Brian Mecchia

Can’t tell you how happy I am that JP is reporting on these issues. Only a matter of time before he blows the lid off this whole thing.

Chris Lee Bailey
Guest
Chris Lee Bailey

I’m more concerned why they feel its necessary to pay her 9 month vacation $500/day

Shaun Glasser
Guest
Shaun Glasser

That how much the fill in is getting. She is probably getting her whole salary+benefits. What a joke, and she got the last laugh

Chris Lee Bailey
Guest
Chris Lee Bailey

Ah my bad I misunderstood reading it. Still… $500 a day to be a fill in seems a bit too much….

newyorker
Member
newyorker

That’s only $127,000 per annum. I see no problem with that rate for the superintendent of an entire school district.

CPA Guy
Guest
CPA Guy

Actually it is the temp superintendent who is getting $500 per day. Dr. Zurchin’s rate from meeting minutes brings her closer to $600 per day for each day she is out ‘sick’ through the end of June 2016. That means the Ambridge schools are paying about $1100 per day through the end of June for superintendents. We still don’t know what happens after that. Story goes that her contract gives her and her husband health care for a bunch or years too. Talk about a super hitting the jackpot.

Jackievillella
Guest
Jackievillella

What does sabol know? She and Megan have slit in common, they are both lesbians and sabol is a gold digger

Sunny Day
Guest
Sunny Day

Watch your mouth, Miss Perfect!!!!!!

Laughing out Loud
Guest
Laughing out Loud

I find it hilarious when people that already have not so great reputations sit behind a computer and trash other people. I know Kathleen Sabol extremely well and she is in no way a lesbian or a gold digger. Jackie – maybe while you’re laying around doing nothing look up the definition of gold digger. I’m pretty sure being a well respected business owner in this town does not fall under being a gold digger. If you’re going to insult someone, do it the right way next time so you don’t make yourself look even more pathetic than you already are.

jackievillells
Guest
jackievillells

laughing out loud, I have 2 jobs so I am far from sitting around a computer, I do apologize for my comment about megan, I tried to erase it but I couldn’t, but as far as miss sabol, she is a gold digger, she wants to collect her rent and be a slum landlord at the same time. what landlord goes out and buys a fridge 100 years old ? and expects it to work, sorry I have nothing good to say about her.and I am not hiding, if I was,I wouldn’t show my name, everyone has the right to their own opinion, you rent off of her and see what kind of person, she really is, have a good day!

Jackie villella
Guest
Jackie villella

Laughing out loud, at least I sit behind my computer and expose my name, I have nothing to hide, what this sabol did t my family is inexcusable, she was at my door the first of every month collecting her rent, but when something broke, she had to take the easy way out like buying a 100 year old fridge that was sitting in someBasement for years , and now she had to finally break down and get a new one. So why don’t you reveal your name, I’m not sitting behind the computer hiding mine, in fact I know who you are, the next time you comment I will reveal your name and as far as my reputation is concerned, I wouldn’t have the job that I have if it was bad, talk is real cheap ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿ‘Ž

Sean Fischer
Guest
Sean Fischer

Ill take a jab at this – Are you still bitter 5+ years later about having to pay the damages that you did to the apartment while you lived there? Also, did your lease agreement state that rent was due on the first on the month? I think so. What exactly did my gram do to your family that is so inexcusable? That’s a pretty big accusation

Sean Fischer
Guest
Sean Fischer

Also, Jackie, the only reason you are upset, and it’s a matter of public record, is because you were evicted and subsequently sued for non payment of rent and destruction of property in which you lost. Your father, Leon Hicks (former electrical inspector for Ambridge Borough), paid your debt in order to spare your family any further embarrassment. I will not be tempted to respond to any of your further accusations because anyone who knows you and knows my gram knows the truth.

jackie villella
Guest
jackie villella

first .all all mr. sean fisher, you don’t know half of whats going on, you are the grandson, of course you are going to speak highly of grand ma and that’s ok. you are getting this all wrong, I do understand that you pay rent on the 1st, but I don’t understand why I had to wait a month to get my hot water tank fixed.she also went after a minister who just lost his wife, yeah she wanted me to feel out a statement so she can sue him, don’t mention my best friend was looking at her place, gave a deposit and had a family emergency and had to back out, she didn’t even move in and miss sabol kept her deposit. the poor minister couldn’t even grieve and she was already sueing him. and she didn’t win entirely, she stated I put a dish up and didn’t win that, she lost that part, and if I was so bad, why did I rent there 5 years?????????? hmmm. the real real reason I left was because my child was in school, the minute she graduated I bolted out of there, so lets get that part straight. let her live in that house with dog crap all over the back yard and drug activity in the back alley day and night. I live in a wonderful town, I have a great landlord, I feel safe and secure there, that’s what really matters, so please stay out of something you… Read more ยป

Rifleman24
Guest
Rifleman24

You are a real moron Jackievillella.

jackievillells
Guest
jackievillells

if the shoe fits, wear it