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Two of Three Republicans Resign From Central Bucks School Board Tuesday

When the Democratic majority was elected to the Central Bucks School Board last year, it was with the assurance that they would bring more cooperation and less division to the board.

But that hope was shattered Tuesday night when two of three Republicans on the board—Lisa Sciscio and Debra Cannon–resigned.

The move came after the majority ended the meeting rather than allow Sciscio to speak.

“I was trying to approach the situation in a more charitable manner toward my colleagues,” said Sciscio. “So, there is one particular issue I have grave concerns about. And I asked for more information about this issue because I’m concerned not just myself but every member of  this board with not being given information.”

She pointed to a request she’d made to the new solicitor, David Conn.

“What I have learned since then is pretty mind-blowing,” Sciscio said. “As we heard tonight, also in public comment, one of the problems that reflects Mr. Conn as the solicitor of this district. On Jan. 28, I requested information on a legal matter, the separation agreement of (former superintendent) Dr. Lucabaugh. I abstained from last month’s vote, allowing Mr. Conn to take any legal action necessary regarding Dr. Lucabaugh, and boy, I’m glad I did. For merely asking for information and documentation on the matter…For my request, I was accused by Mr. Conn of colluding with the attorney representing Dr. Lucabaugh.”

Lucabaugh resigned after the November election brought a Democrat majority to the Central Bucks School Board. The previous, Republican-controlled board had faced a backlash over policies, including allowing parents to question whether certain books were age-appropriate. The board also instructed teachers and staff not to use alternative names and gender identities for students who requested it unless they had parental permission. Other issues included not allowing political displays, whether Trump signs or LGBTQ flags, in common areas of the schools.

“That certainly didn’t dissuade me from seeking this information,” said Sciscio. “Because I’m already used to our solicitor making egregiously false accusations against me and some other members of the board, especially in the press.

“Perhaps to elaborate on what this has been like is to simply share my emails,” she said. She started to read an email to Conn asking him to prepare a confidential memorandum about Lucabaugh’s resignation for board members.

“Instead, you use Karen (Smith) as your mouthpiece to claim that you require authorization from the board,” she said, quoting her email to Conn. “As a school board solicitor, you know that’s a flat-out lie.” She demanded all documentation in writing because of the “disparaging and inappropriate comments you’ve made about certain board members, including me, to the press.”

She added that perhaps Conn had not seen the email from Lucabaugh outlining alleged harassment from Smith.

Smith broke in to say Sciscio’s remarks were not appropriate.

“It’s come to my attention that on Nov. 29, you entered your appearance in a Bucks County election legal matter on behalf of Karen Smith, Heather Reynolds, and Dana Foley personally. Quite the coincidence that Karen notified me, Jim (Pepper) and Debra (Cannon) via email before anyone was sworn in that the ‘transitional board’ decided to hire you as a solicitor…Don’t you think it would have been appropriate to put the board and the public on notice of this conflict of interest? Don’t you think this could be construed as a quid pro quo? Don’t you think it would be prudent to advise your firm of their potential liability?”

She said the board majority was settling “personal political scores” before they voted to end the meeting.

Smith, the board president, Conn, and acting Superintendent James Scanlon did not respond to requests for comments. Sciscio and Cannon also did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

“This is just so heartbreaking,” said Michaela Schultz, responding on social media.

Also on social media, Dave Vessichelli said, “Democrats fixed the map so they will have control of the CB school board forever. Sad, but it will only get worse. If I have young kids, I would definitely get them out of the district.”

And Mike Jeffreys said, “Not that it matters what I think, but I’m 100 percent convinced the only way to see real change and accountability is through school choice.”

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