Unionville school board member resigns

This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website, The Kennett Paper‘s website and the Avon Grove Sun‘s website.
Holly Manzone shocked the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District by resigning. (Fran Maye)

Holly Manzone shocked the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District by resigning. (Fran Maye)

A Unionville-Chadds Ford school board member whose term was set to expire after next month’s election decided instead to make a statement of protest by resigning Monday.

Holly Manzone, board member for Region B, made the surprise announcement during the time in the meeting when school directors could make comments.

“Our board has eliminated most committee meetings, and much of the discussion prior to votes takes place in private conversations among board members,” Manzone said in her statement. “Information is not shared with the public or among all members of the board.

“Without adequate information, I cannot perform the job that I was elected to do. I therefore resign from the school board effective immediately.”

With that, she stood up, packed her belongings, and walked out of the meeting, leaving the remaining members in disbelief.

… [Please continue the story on the Daily Local News website by clicking here.]

“I think this school board is extremely knowledgeable and conscientious about following Right to Know,” said board member Jeff Hellrung. “I am rather flabbergasted about that whole thing.”

Referencing a current topic being discussed between board members, Hellrung continued, “This wasn’t decided behind closed doors by some group of evildoers who are leading the board in a bad direction. It was done in the ‘Sunshine,’ in an open discussion.

“If you’re going to be on a school board, you have to be a team member, even when your ideas don’t prevail … If there are individuals who can’t do that, they shouldn’t be on a board like this.”

In a resignation letter prepared for the members of the board, Manzone said, “the administration and board have become more concerned with looking good than with confronting real issues that need to be addressed.” Manzone went on to list six issues, including the withholding of documents, private votes and orchestrated meetings that she said were concerns.

“The final straw for me has been a recent situation in which the district administration failed to adequately investigate and pursue a clear violation of our residency requirements, confirmed by investigative reports,” Manzone said in the letter. “The administration dragged their feet for more than two years and ultimately struck a ‘deal’ with the parties – without discussing their actions or terms of the ‘deal’ with the Board.

“When I asked for the reports underlying this course of action, I was told I could not see them. While this particular insurance may be a ‘done deal,’ the refusal to examine it means there is no hope of improvement or change in the future. It is not possible for me to represent the interests of our citizens under these conditions.”

Manzone had one more meeting left before her term ended and decided to take a stand.

She made her final decision a week ago.

“I really enjoyed serving the community,” Manzone said. “It’s really been an honor.”

She said she leaves behind several accomplishments in the community and district over the last four years, such as the syllabus for secondary education.

“I’m disappointed that this happened,” said board member Kathleen Do. “I really do hope that she will have a positive legacy here because she did do a lot of good work … She was nothing but passionate about this district, and I think that was a good thing.”

Since elections will be held next month, Manzone’s position on the board will not be filled and will instead remain vacant until the next member is voted in.

The board will vote to accept her resignation at the next meeting in November.

“I hate to rip the district or hurt the students or anybody else,” Manzone said. “I’m a lame duck. I’m not running for reelection, but I felt I needed to make a statement and I guess I’ve done it.”


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Categories: Education

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