- Grove City, Pennsylvania

July 6, 2012

Lakeview school board, principal Auer cut ties

She resigns, awaits court hearing

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

LAKEVIEW — Lakeview Area School District board members on Monday cut ties with High School Principal Elizabeth Ann Auer, who faces charges of providing alcohol to former students at her home.

Board members unanimously approved the resignation she turned in June 22, after meeting in executive session for about 15 minutes, said Scott Lewis, board president, adding directors Renee Jenkins and James Slater were absent.

The district is not responsible for any costs related to Auer's departure, but Lewis said he couldn't discuss any other terms of the district's agreement with her because of her ongoing court case.

"There are still legal matters pending," he said.

Auer, 46, of 957 Schrader Road, Fairview Township, whose resignation was effectively immediately, had been on administrative leave since this January, when she was charged by state police with two counts of selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors stemming from a July 11 incident at her home.

She has denied the allegations and waived her preliminary hearing in April. Auer now awaits a hearing in the Mercer County Court of Common Pleas.

She's accused of giving beer to two former students who had been doing yardwork at her home: Ryan Alan Herrmann and Kyle Matthew Scott, both 20, who also said it wasn't the first time they drank beer at her home.

Several times while they were still in high school, Auer would text Herrmann about a "camp fire" at her place, meaning they could come drink.

Herrmann on July 11 was arrested for drunken driving after he crashed his car into an Amish buggy on Fredonia-Stoneboro Road, Fairview Township. He later told police he had been drinking at Auer's home.

Dr. Hendley D. Hoge, Mercer's former high school principal, was named interim principal at Lakeview shortly after Auer was charged.

Hoge was also named acting superintendent earlier this month when Frank McClard announced his retirement, effective today.

McClard, who has been the leader of the school district since 2008, is leaving a full year before his contract was to expire.

Lewis said McClard informed the board during its May 21 meeting that he planned to resign.

The superintendent, who came to Lakeview from Union City Area School District, has been at the center of controversy this past school year after two teachers filed a federal lawsuit alleging McClard was forcing religion into the schools.

The lawsuit followed news that McClard had created a student and staff prayer group at the school, had invited local pastors to pray at teacher in-service days and had written pro-Christian things on his school blog. The suit has since been settled.

Board members hope to have both positions permanently filled before school resumes Aug. 28, Lewis said.

Published June 30, 2012, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.