Former York Suburban Schools head walking away with $53K

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

Former York Suburban School District Superintendent Michele Merkle walked away from a lucrative contract at the district late last month but is taking with her more than $53,000 in unused benefits.

In this file photo, York Suburban Superintendent Shelly Merkle gives an update on her district during a news conference regarding the Campaign for Fair Education Funding at the York City School administrative building in York City, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The former district head, whose last formal day at York Suburban was Sept. 30, signed a resignation and release agreement on the same day she submitted her letter of resignation on Sept. 25. The board went on to unanimously approve her resignation that night.

The release agreement, obtained by The York Dispatch through a Right-to-Know Law request, shows Merkle will leave with 55 vacation days, more than 196 sick days and 3¼ days of personal leave. The total amount owed to her, according to the agreement, is $53,445.89.

Of that amount, $39,345.90 will be paid out to Merkle directly, while $11,775 of accrued sick leave and $2,324.99 in personal leave will be paid out as a contribution to Merkle’s account in York Suburban’s 403(b) retirement savings plan.

More:York Suburban superintendent resigns; district searching for 'substitute'

The school district must pay Merkle’s accrued benefits by Thursday, Oct. 26, at the latest, according to the release agreement.

Merkle began a four-year agreement with the district on July 1 with a starting salary of $186,000, according to Merkle’s most recent contract, also obtained through a Right-to-Know Law request.

More:York Suburban board approves acting superintendent

More:EDITORIAL: Right to know in Suburban

More:York Suburban continues to lead local districts on PSSA scores

Resignation: Merkle took an unannounced medical leave starting Sept. 14, just a day before former York Suburban Assistant Superintendent Patricia Maloney’s planned retirement date.

After The York Dispatch reported Merkle’s leave, York Suburban School Board President Lynne Leopold-Sharp announced in a district letter that the board would vote on Merkle’s leave on Sept. 25.

Hours before the Sept. 25 board meeting, another letter from Leopold-Sharp announced that Merkle had tendered her letter of resignation as superintendent, which was accepted by the school board that night.

On Monday, Oct. 9, Larry R. Redding was approved unanimously by the York Suburban school board to fill the vacancy left by Merkle.