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Sunday, February 7, 2016

The "All Hell Breaks Lose in Manheim Township" Story

It was an ordinary day.   Remembering when I first began my teaching career at Manheim Township High School, the school from which I had graduated in 1962.  The year was 1967 and my Industrial Arts department chairman was Mr. George Ehemann.  Mr. Ehemann was a very tall, well-built man who had played semi-pro basketball.  The type of teacher that demanded respect and got it.  One of his students whom he had in his drawing class during my first year under him was a boy named William Murry.  William's father was a wealthy businessman and builder in Manheim Township.  So, William was a rather obnoxious and contentious student.  He felt entitled since his family was wealthy.  Well, Mr. Ehemann couldn't stand him and every day he had him in class he had to tell me about what he did that day and how much self-control it took to keep from throwing him to the floor and trouncing him.  Mr. Ehemann died many years ago, but if he were still around today he would love what is happening to William.  Seems that William Murray is now the President of the Manheim Township School Board and is in big trouble.  In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania all the individual school districts are independent from one another.  Each is run by a School Board which elects a Superintendent to run the district for them.  Mr. Murray has been the President for a few years now and the Superintendent of the district has recently resigned.  No one knows for sure why because it has been kept a secret from the residents of Manheim Township.  The school board had recently paid $71,000 for a six-month investigation into problems related to the Superintendent.  That's $71,000 of taxpayer funds; and some of that is my money!  And that, my readers, is not allowed under what are known as the Sunshine Laws of Pennsylvania.  The Lancaster Newspaper found out that the school board was holding secret meetings for months and the Lancaster County District Attorney began an investigation into the matter.  But, the obnoxious, contentious, belligerent and entitled Mr. Murry doesn't seem to care.  He does whatever he wants to do .... with my money!  So, one of his board members secretly taped a recent executive session where Mr. Murry told board members he would make individual private phone calls to board members to avoid public discussion on the hiring of a search committee to find a new Superintendent.  This all led to the big headline in the morning paper a few days later which shouted: RESIDENTS TELL BOARD: RESIGN.  At the regular monthly meeting this past week a huge crowd of residents attended and really gave it to the board.  They called the board's actions "reprehensible, deeply troubling and embarrasing" to the citizens of Manheim Township.  Members of the crowd called for the resignation of Mr. Murry and also District Solicitor who has been giving the school board advice on what to do.  A few of the board members apoligized to the crowd for what was happening.  One of those, Mr. Todd Heckman, was recently escorted out of a youth basketball game for arguing with the referrees.  A good role model as a school board member!  His name should be added to the list of those called on to resign from the board.  And what does Mr. Murry have to say after his voice could be heard in the secret tape telling board members of his upcoming private calls to each one and being told he should resign?  He replied that he hadn't given much consideration to residents' calls for his resignation.  A petition, launched by several residents on the website Change.org has garnered quite a few signatures as well as a few comments.  Here's hoping that something good will come from all the negativity that Mr. Murry and the school board of Manheim Township has created in the past few months.  Only time will tell.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

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