By Francis Scarcella

The Daily Item

SUNBURY -- Shikellamy expects to spend at least $5,000 on attorney costs for a public hearing regarding the conduct of suspended volunteer wrestling coach Bob Supsic.

Tuesday night's hearing dragged on for four hours, lasting until almost midnight and included testimony from an elementary student with whom Supsic got into an altercation with after a fire extinguisher in a school hallway was damaged during a Nov. 17 wrestling practice.

The board votes tonight on whether to reinstate Supsic.

The second half of a public hearing requested by Supsic included testimony by the Shikellamy Braves head coach and witnesses who said Supsic is the right man for the job.

Supsic called for a public hearing at a Dec. 16 school board meeting and claimed a student smashed a glass box that housed a fire extinguisher. When he approached the student, the altercation occurred, Supsic said.

A videotape of the incident was turned over to the Sunbury Police Department, and after investigating the matter, officers decided nothing illegal had occurred and the case was closed.

Supsic continued to coach until he was informed he had been suspended, after which he assumed it was district superintendent Robin Musto who made the call.

During testimony, it was determined that high school Principal Mike Hubicki suspended Supsic, even though Hubicki said he never spoke to any of the parties involved in the altercation.

Hubicki said head wrestling coach John Supsic spoke to him and told him he should suspend his bother, Bob Supsic.

In response, John Supsic demanded the opportunity to tell the board a different story.

Supsic denied those allegations and said he never spoke to Hubicki about any suspensions.

School board members Tom Michaels, James Hartman, Jim Garman, Lori Garman, Mike Kerstetter, Linda Van Der Pool, Wendy Wiest, and Terry Marshall sat and listened and participated by asking questions.

Newly elected director Kim Markunas was absent from the vote, even though she agreed to the public hearing at the Dec. meeting.

Musto said on Wednesday that she was informed in the afternoon on Tuesday that Markunas was not going to be participating in the hearing.

"She called the district office and told a secretary she was not going to make it," Musto said Wednesday. "I am not aware of the reason why."

Markunas' absence could costly for Supsic because district solicitor Jeff Apfelbaum ruled she can not vote tonght on Supsic's status.

There may be another option.

If the school board wants Markunas to vote, they would need to direct Apfelbaum to provide hearing transcripts to her, said Stuart Knade, chief council for the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

"That is up to the school board to direct those questions to their solicitor," Knade said.

"She would have to be able to read the entire transcripts of what transpired during the hearing."

The district would need to pay for the transcripts, which could be costly, Knade said.

No more costly than the $290 per hour that Musto spent for attorney Jeff Champagne to present the administration's case.

Champagne has spent roughly 17 hours o n site in Sunbury, and Musto said she was unsure of how many hours he has worked preparing the case from his Harrisburg office.

Apfelbaum's billable hours were not readily available district officials said Wednesday.

The board will vote on the future of Supsic at 7 p.m.

• Email comments to fscarcella@dailyitem.com

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