Central Bucks School District could be on the hook for up to $100 million (or more) if a federal judge rules in favor of 350 past and present district female teachers suing the district in a discrimination lawsuit arguing they were systematically paid less than men with equal or lesser qualifications.
Contrary to misinformation put out by local Republicans, my wife is not a part of that lawsuit. Her separate lawsuit was consolidated with Dawn Marinello’s lawsuit for the court’s administrative purposes but remains a separate case. If I am elected to the School Board, I would obviously be recused from any decisions affecting my wife’s case. Decisions having to do with the Marinello case are a different matter and present serious financial consequences for the taxpayers of Central Bucks. I would have a profound interest in that if elected to the Board as a financial matter, but also because I am a father of two daughters, a husband of a female teacher, and a person with a moral code.
I find it unconscionable that the district has used the expertise and talents of these women touting the success of “The District” that is made up of almost 75 percent female faculty, and yet still refuses to acknowledge the facts that appear to show a clear inequality in how teachers with experience coming into the district were compensated. Instead of working to settle this case for work already done by these women, this board gives a 40 percent pay raise to an inexperienced superintendent who has spent his two years in the position leading the way to usher in and champion anti-LGBTQ policies, cause chaos and stoke division, and then ludicrously lecturing the community that he is a victim and everyone else is making up “narratives.” Why hasn’t he brought this case before the board? Is it more evidence of continued discrimination toward women?
Let me share the real concerns and facts involved this case.
The equal pay claims are before federal Judge Michael M. Baylson. He is a highly experienced and very well-respected jurist on our nation’s federal bench.
Judge Baylson has stated on the public record and directly to the District’s counsel, District Superintendent Lucabaugh, and then-Director of Human Resources Didio-Hauber in June of 2022 in court, that he just cannot understand how Central Bucks can defend the equal pay claims as they are. Accordingly, he has publicly, and repeatedly, encouraged the District to take corrective action and resolve the cases. In fact, on August 9 Judge Baylson again stated on the record that he believes that the teachers’ equal pay claims have merit and again encouraged the District to consider settling those claims. This is a federal judge with over 20 years’ experience on the bench. Nevertheless, the District has not heeded Judge Baylson and, in ignoring him, continues to place the taxpayers of the District at risk.
The District has acknowledged that the claims of the more than 350 teachers in the Marinello lawsuit could spur liability in excess of $100 million. The District has stated on record that there may not be any insurance to cover any of the potential and likely payout and has formally said that any such liability will be borne by the taxpayers of Central Bucks.
It is irresponsible for the District to litigate this when the stakes are $100 million of taxpayers’ money. A responsible superintendent and school board would be working to settle this case, not just because of the huge financial impact it will have, but because they should want to right the wrong of a decades-old practice of undervaluing the work of women. To continue to ignore this case, is to continue to devalue the work of our female teachers. It is irresponsible for Lucabaugh and School Board President Dana Hunter to not prioritize a settlement with these teachers.
How can Lucabaugh be praised as a leader and awarded more money despite the fact this case has been going on under his “leadership” and his female faculty has been used in this way.
I am not hiding anything about this case from voters, but Hunter and Superintendent Lucabaugh have been. The school board should take the counsel of Judge Baylson and focus on resolving the equal pay claims since that is the fiscally responsible thing to do.
It is also the legally, morally, and ethically right thing to do.