There is a well-deserved buzz surrounding the lawsuit that lead plaintiffs Rebecca Cartee-Haring and Dawn Marinello started. This suit is an evolving attempt to collect significant millions from the Central Bucks district. If successful, it will have repercussions for all taxpayers, especially those on fixed incomes.

Mrs. Haring is a frequent flier of lawsuits against our district; the first one was over her $8,000-a-year lacrosse coaching job at CB West. Her contract was not reinstated. She sued and wanted to settle for an eye-popping $750,000. Ms. Cartee-Haring has left two other coaching jobs since.

There is also the matter of the cease-and-desist email from the Central Bucks West principal. Both Rebecca Cartee-Haring and her husband, Rick Haring, received this and were ordered to stay away from the coaching staff. But that is another entire story.

READ MORE — Tempers flare at Central Bucks School Board meeting

The current lawsuit is over “equal pay.” A settlement proposal of $119 million was offered by the Cartee-Haring lawyer, Ed Mazurek, on Sept. 1. As taxpayers, we should look to other legal experts to judge the validity of settling this case. Mr. Mazurek is himself slated to make $25–$37 million with this settlement. 

Mike Levin, a legal representative for the entire Pennsylvania School Board Association, whom the district has engaged to represent them, has publicly advised our board not to settle. Mr. Levin stated clearly at the Sept. 12 board meeting that the case has no merit. But if the district did settle, the way to pay for this was laid out at that board meeting (starts at minute 16:45, The board majority agrees and has stated it will not settle.

To complicate matters even more, Mrs. Cartee-Haring’s husband, Rick Haring, is running for a seat on the Central Bucks School Board. Rick Haring has made it clear on his social media posts that he would not recuse himself from the collective action lawsuit. This is a clear conflict of interest, as his family stands to benefit financially from any settlement, while the district and taxpayers stand in harm’s way. 

How much harm? As noted by the district’s counsel, to pay the $119 million settlement asked for by Cartee-Haring’s lawyer, Central Bucks would have to raise taxes or levy massive cuts in staff and services. 

Mrs. Cartee-Haring publicly suggested that Central Bucks could sell real estate to avoid tax increases or staff/service cuts. How many schools and athletic fields would need to be closed and sold? Perhaps builders would pay handsomely for school property around Tohickon Middle School? Plumstead is a very desirable area to build. How about Linden? By a 9–0 vote, this board saved it from closing. Would that be on the sell list? But would that even begin to pay for this settlement?

Incumbent and candidate board member Karen Smith has also hinted on her social media that she is open to a settlement, thus discounting the legal advice of Mr. Levin. Worse yet, she minimizes the district’s ability to pay.

You don’t need to be a “math person” to know the Cartee-Haring lawsuit has taxpayers on the hook.

Taxpayers must ask why she is so cavalier with our district’s funds. Central Bucks settling this lawsuit for $119 million could mean building closures as well as cuts in arts, sports, special needs services, support staff, and more. She should respond to Haring’s claim that selling real estate will avoid the massive tax increase.

CB Forward Candidates were offered an opportunity to meet with Cartee-Haring’s lawyer and refused. Rick Haring’s running mates Heather Reynolds, Susan Gibson, Karen Smith, and Dana Foley should be asked: Did they meet with Mr. Mazurek? Do they, like Mrs. Smith, believe that CBSD should disregard the advice of counsel and settle the case? How do they envision paying the lump sum of $119 million?

For months, our local media has trumpeted $1.3 million to investigate and refute the assertions that our teachers and administrators ignored bullying of LGBT students. Insurance will cover the majority of this but will not cover any of the $119 million settlement demanded by Rick Haring’s wife, her lawyer, and co-plaintiffs. You don’t need to be a “math person” to know the Cartee-Haring lawsuit has taxpayers on the hook for over 100 times what was used to defend our district against serious charges. 

It’s incredible that no local media outlet is asking these questions. The local media should cover and report on this significant lawsuit and its merits, and taxpayers should inquire of all Central Bucks School Board candidates and incumbents about the nature of their interactions with the lead plaintiff and attorney in a case that is likely to cost our students, taxpayers, and district money. Instead, we as a community are left to argue about it on Facebook or NextDoor.

Where are the unbiased editors and reporters that will take up this challenge? 

Update: The original headline to this article was changed as reading “over $100 million dollars” to “$119 million dollars.”

Howard Schargel has been a resident and taxpayer in Plumstead Township in Bucks County for 25 years. He and his wife have had three children in the Central Bucks School District.

12 thoughts on “Howard Schargel: Central Bucks taxpayers could be on the hook for $119 million due to a frequent-flier plaintiff — whose husband wants a seat on the school board”

  1. You are forgetting that Broad & Liberty is asking the questions you want asked and giving voice to you and others that are fighting for sanity. You are correct that no other media outlet other than, Broad & Liberty, is asking your questions.

  2. It seems she’s after the millions and the tax payers will have to pay more taxes. Taxes are too high now. The person has since then left two or teaching jobs. I wonder if she sued them trying to get. Rich.

    1. Taxpayers are not obligated to cover the Liabilities of the school system. Totally separate entities. If CBSD doesn’t have the funds to pay any reward, it files bankruptcy. At that point the State Department of Education steps in and appoints an overseer who assumes the role of the Board. Overseer than starts the appeal process which can take years.
      All of the above was shared with me by a Partner of one of the largest school board auditing firms in the state.

  3. I understand there are over 300 women (teachers) in this lawsuit who have proven they were underpaid vs male counterparts. That’s a different story completely if facts are included.

    1. “Jane, you ignorant slut” – SNL, 1979.

      It’s not proven. But it’s not like innocent until proven guilty matters in our society.

  4. Wally Nunn, Norma Courson, Anthony Pascazio, Jane, Kevin, Sunshine, and Dung Mastriano:
    A skillful act or scheme occurred on 2/6/22 in the New York Times crossword: the central theme clue was “The better of two sci-fi franchises”, and regardless of whether you put Star Wars or Star Trek, the crossing clues worked. I do not pay for the New York Times and there is no way I will try crossword puzzles as they are beyond me… but enough sources relayed that info so I presume it is accurate.
    What are you trying to communicate with your comments? …Kevin and Sunshine’s points seem reasonable.
    “I’m rubber and you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you.”
    “Sticks and stones break bones. Names and insults can never hurt us.”
    “I knew you’d say that, and I’m glad you did.”
    “What! Why?”
    “Because it proves you’re wrong.”
    “No one says that unless they’re mistaken. Don’t you see it?”
    “That’s even more proof… I’m sorry for you.”
    “Do you know what ‘social justice’ means?” “Of course, I do.”
    “That proves you don’t. No one who really understands social justice thinks he understands it.”

  5. Edward comment. At the cbsd school board meeting where the school board released the information on the lawsuit the campaign manager for the Democrat party candidates who want to get elected so that they can win the lawsuit with a consent decree without even going to trial. Stephen Sullivan threatened spectators and speakers with a metal chair which is a deadly weapon

  6. You don’t just settle an equal-pay lawsuit. You bring in an expert who evaluates the salaries paid to all employees and then presents his conclusions to the board. You have to know if there really are disparities in the salaries paid. Moreover, you don’t just throw $119M at the plaintiffs. If disparities are found, you have to make adjustments to the salaries paid so that the disparities don’t continue. Surely the district’s counsel knows this and is acting accordingly???

  7. And now the uneducated voters of Central Bucks voted for the husband to be on the school board. Congratulations and Thank You Central Bucks voters for increasing our taxes by 120 million with your vote.

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