mcferren

McFerren

Former Farrell High School Principal Lee McFerren won’t be getting his job back.

The state Department of Education has sided with Farrell Area School District in an appeal of McFerren’s July firing, school board President Marcena Cimoric confirmed Saturday.

The ruling wasn’t made public by the education department. Mrs. Cimoric said school district solicitor James Nevant II informed the board about the decision late last week.

“Now we can just move forward,” Mrs. Cimoric said. “The PDE (Pennsylvania Department of Education) just confirmed what we said. They supported us on all counts.”

McFerren, 42, of Meadville, was fired because of a litany of allegations that he neglected his duties as principal, mismanaged teachers and students and violated the state school code during his three-year tenure with the district.

In September he appealed the decision to the state education department.

McFerren had maintained his innocence and his attorney, Barbara Seman Ochs of Sharon, has said that he wants his job back with back pay and interest from the time of his Feb. 7 suspension.

Neither McFerren nor Mrs. Ochs could be reached for comment Saturday. It wasn’t immediately known if there are any other avenues to appeal the decision.

McFerren contends the removal hearing was unfair because the evidence against him included written testimony from school board members and school officials who couldn’t be cross-examined because they didn’t appear at the hearing — a violation of McFerren’s due process rights, according to Mrs. Ochs.

In the appeal to the state, Mrs. Ochs also introduced an affidavit signed by school director Lester Robinson Jr., who claims the board didn’t deliberate or review the findings of fact before deciding to fire McFerren.

Robinson’s claim was disputed by other school directors, including Mrs. Cimoric.

Mrs. Cimoric maintains that Robinson’s claims in the sworn affidavit amount to perjury because the board deliberated and reviewed the mountain of paperwork presented at the removal hearing, which spanned two days in March and three days in May.

“I really don’t want to make any comment,” Robinson said Saturday. “Basically I was rooting for the guy. I felt he got a raw deal.”

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