The Elizabethtown school board approved a $425,000 payout to the family of a middle school student who was struck by a vehicle and killed while walking home from school in 2015.
A written statement released at the school board meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14, said that the Elizabethtown Area School District reached a settlement with the family of David Weiser and that a lawsuit brought by the family has been dismissed, including all claims against the district and individual district employees.
The district’s insurance carrier is paying the settlement fee, and no district funds will be used. The settlement was reached after mediation with a federal magistrate judge.
“The district continues to believe it was not responsible for David’s death, but accepts that this settlement is the best approach so that our employees and David’s family can move forward,” the statement said. In its lawsuit against the district, the family argued that school officials knew that the student’s autism made it unsafe for him to walk home alone and that he should have been put on a school bus.
The school board voted unanimously, and without comment, to approve the settlement.
The school board workshop meeting was held at the newly renovated Bainbridge Elementary School, surrounded by signs saying, “Thank you for saving our school!” The meeting followed a community open house, which had a “phenomenal turnout” from the Bainbridge community, Superintendent Michele Balliet said.
Conoy Township Supervisor Stephen Mohr, who presented a flower arrangement to the open house on behalf of the supervisors, praised the board for doing a “super job.”
He added: “There were a lot of doubters five years ago that we would be even having school here in 2018. And the credit goes to you people because once you decided it was coming, it was staying. Everybody got on board, and we’re tickled.”
Also, board president Terry Seiders announced that the middle school will begin using a trimester system this year. Seiders also discussed three potential new board goals: creating a five-year financial plan, including facilities; promoting opportunities for individual learning while complying with core standards; and removing barriers to student growth and staff success.
During a discussion on educational planning, board member M. Caroline Lalvani and Balliet talked about using the book “What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America.” Board members will get copies.
The board approved a fiveyear extension of the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program in West Donegal Township, namely in the Conewago Industrial Park. The LERTA program encourages new development by not taxing improvements to property right away, instead phasing in the taxes on the new construction. The board also approved contracts, including a cost-share contract with the Donegal School District for a school psychologist.
Business manager George Longridge gave an overview of bus transportation. The district buses over 3,100 students, using 26 “big” buses and 32minibuses and vans. Buses travel 3,849 miles every day, the distance from Elizabethtown to LosAngeles and back to Pueblo, Colo., plus 100 miles, Longridge said. There are also more than 800 walkers, many at Bainbridge.