Northeastern paid 'leftist lie' principal $137K under separation deal
Former principal Scott D'Orazio received more than $137,000 from the Northeastern School District in a separation agreement after facing backlash from calling the Black Lives Matter movement a "leftist lie."
The district reached the agreement with D'Orazio on Nov. 21, effectively ending his employment there. The Northeastern school board ratified the agreement Dec. 7 but refused to release the terms of the agreement until Thursday night, following a Right to Know Law request filed by The York Dispatch.
D'Orazio is a former Shallow Brook Intermediate School principal who last year was accused of posting a meme calling the Black Lives Matter movement a “leftist lie” to his personal Facebook page.
D'Orazio's Facebook post came amid nationwide protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Northeastern Superintendent Stacey Sidle previously recommended D'Orazio's firing.
On Dec. 11, the district paid D'Orazio one-year's salary, or $109,190, under the deal. D'Orazio was also reimbursed for his accumulated vacation days and sick leave totaling $28,494.
D'Orazio is eligible to participate in the district's health care plan as long as his wife remains an employee, according to the agreement.
The agreement also specifies that D'Orazio cannot file a lawsuit against the district. Earlier last year, D'Orazio's attorneys indicated that they believed the then-principal's post was protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
D'Orazio initially claimed he wanted a public hearing to discuss the matter, but multiple public hearings were postponed and none were ever held. D'Orazio withdrew his request for a public hearing in the agreement.
As part of the agreement, D'Orazio will never be employed with Northeastern School District again. Furthermore, if D'Orazio uses district officials as a reference for future employment opportunities, the district is only allowed to share the start and end date of his employment, the positions he held within the district and the fact that D'Orazio voluntarily resigned.
D'Orazio attorney George Margetas said the district and D'Orazio's legal team started negotiating the separation agreement in the summer. He described district officials as "flexible" and "open-minded" during the negotiations, and he said neither party wanted to "drag either side through the mud."
Sidle could not be reached immediately Friday for comment.
It wasn't the first time D'Orazio had been at the center of controversy. In 2019, two nurses filed a lawsuit against the district alleging they were mistreated by D'Orazio.
One claimed he undermined her medical needs after she was diagnosed with cancer, while the other alleged he refused to let her leave the room and demanded to see her phone, which he believed held evidence of him with another school employee, according to a Fox 43 report.
That lawsuit was later settled and the terms were not made public.