WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – The suspended superintendent of the West Mifflin School District is expected to learn his fate today.
Allegations against Daniel Castagna have divided the school board and the community.
Castagna is facing possible dismissal in the midst of several controversial allegations.
According to Colleen Johnston, Castagna’s attorney, the embattled superintendent will testify tonight and offer up his side of the story. He is also expected to bring character witnesses who can testify to his claims.
Johnston said he will speak to a number of allegations that he has not yet addressed publicly and that he very much wants to be reinstated to his position.
“If he is legitimately guilty, then he should be held accountable. If he’s not, then West Mifflin should apologize to him,” said Joe Bilek, parent of student in West Mifflin School District.
Bilek said he hopes that this issue is ironed out tonight, or in the very near future.
“I really think it’s turned into sort of a Jerry Springer type fiasco,” said Bilek. “We have someone who is supposed to be a leader and yet we have all this circus following him and I think it could be detrimental to the kids in the long run.”
Johnston said this is a simple issue of politics and a school board that is out to get Castagna removed from his position of power.
“It’s the majority of the school board, not the entire school board, that has placed Dr. Castagna in this situation,” she said.
Earlier this month, it was clear at a public hearing that the audience was comprised of a mix of supporters and detractors.
Watch Meghan Schiller’s report —
Among the accusations Castagna faces; a 2017 DUI charge, as well as allegations of neglect of duties, incompetency and immorality.
“These charges of misconduct against Dr. Castagna have absolutely no merit,” said Johnston. “It’s not as though we are contending they have ‘insufficient evidence.’ There is no evidence. These charges are based on rumor mill, some of them spanning back to 4 or 5 years ago, when this school board was not constituted.”
In August, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Castagna allegedly tried to get the district to hire a convicted felon without a background check.
At a hearing, the owner of the school’s contracted security company testified that Castagna called him in 2014 to ask about a job for his friend. The friend was hired without board approval and without a background check.
The man worked for three days before a background check was completed, which uncovered that he was a convicted felon. He was then fired.
In July, the board voted to place Castagna on unpaid leave.
He, in turn, filed suit against the district and the six board members who voted to suspend him.
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