Leigh Valley’s Coleman changes mind, resigns from Parkland School Board

The senator-elect in the 16th District had previously announced plans to remain a school director

By: - December 19, 2022 9:35 am

The 16th District state Senate primary campaign of Republican Jarrett Coleman was funded largely by a few wealthy individuals (Contributed photo).

Republican Jarrett Coleman, who was elected to the state’s 16th Senate District in November, has changed his mind and has resigned from the Parkland School Board.

Coleman of Upper Macungie had told the Parkland School Board he planned to remain a school director after his swearing-in on Jan. 3.

He submitted his resignation on Dec. 15, the school district said. The school board is expected to accept it on Dec. 20.

It came after a Dec. 6 Parkland School Board meeting where residents criticized Coleman for filing two lawsuits against the district, one on the day he was elected in 2021 and the other a few weeks later.

The residents question how Coleman, who had been a fiscal watchdog during his tenure, could file a lawsuit that ended up costing the district money.

“At what cost?” one resident asked. Board members did not answer the question.

The lawsuits were over votes taken on Oct. 26, 2021, and Nov. 16, 2021, on a new teachers’ contract that Coleman alleged the board had taken in violation of the state’s Sunshine Act.

A year after they were filed, a Lehigh County judge ruled in favor of the school district in dismissing the first lawsuit but said the second suit had merit. Coleman then dropped the second suit.

Two Lehigh Valley pols raised more than $1M each for winning state Senate races

According to The Morning Call, Coleman issued a statement that read, in part:

“Part of being a leader involves making difficult decisions at times. After consulting with my team, we determined that although legal to hold both positions, it would be best for the constituents of the 16th Senate District for me to resign as school board director as is customary when assuming higher office.”

Coleman’s original decision to remain on the board and serve in Harrisburg was not unprecedented.

State Rep. Mike Jones, a Republican who represents the 93rd House District in central Pennsylvania, had been a member of the Dallastown School Board when he was first elected as a state representative in 2018.

Jones remained on the board then resigned in September 2019, saying “I think it’s the right thing to do,” according to The York Dispatch.

Katherine Reinhard is a reporter for Armchair Lehigh Valley, a politics newsletter, where this story first appeared.

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Katherine Reinhard
Katherine Reinhard

Katherine Reinhard, a veteran journalist, is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Lehigh Valley Correspondent and a co-editor of Armchair Lehigh Valley, a Substack newsletter focused on politics in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton region.