There was quite the turnout at the Nov. 15 Doylestown Township Board of Supervisors meeting, with over 20 community members calling for the resignation of Supervisor Nancy Santacecilia.
Central Bucks Education Association President Bill Senavaitis took the podium to state that Santacecilia was “positively identified” dropping off flyers in early October that contained racist and homophobic rhetoric. These flyers were dropped off in the mailboxes of Central Bucks staff across the district and also to the homes of some Doylestown residents.
“While it is unclear if she is the author of the material, (Santacecilia) acted alone when she distributed the flyers via interoffice mail and was not on school district property in any capacity with CB Cares when she did so,” said Senavaitis.
The letter references the July meeting minutes for the Doylestown Borough Human Relations Commission in which Senavaitis noted the lack of diversity among Central Bucks School District’s teachers.
“Why is he trying to replace you based on your skin color and divide our community?” the letter asks.
The letter concludes with several posts made from the Rainbow Room, an LGBTQ+ youth center in Doylestown. Accompanying the series of posts is text that seemingly critiques Senavaitis for aligning with Rainbow Room and the NAACP for prompting “a slate of school board candidates that will vote on policy, curriculum and the union contract for the largest suburban school district in Pennsylvania.”
A community member took the podium to defend the Rainbow Room and its director, Marlene Pray, stating that the organization has saved the lives of Doylestown LGBTQ+ children and that the community will “fight for the death for her and the Rainbow Room.”
This speaker was followed up by another community member who backed everything the Rainbow Room has done in supporting Doylestown’s youth for 19 years, simply looking at Santacecilia and saying “Shame on you, shame on you.”
Barbera Lyons, chair of the board, reminded the audience that it is code for them to not address or call out any single board member when speaking at the podium.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Lyons, I’m going to break your rule, because I respectfully ask for Mrs. Santaceclia’s resignation,” said one community member. “Doylestown deserves better.”
Several other community members echoed this sentiment, with many emphasizing that this is not about Republican versus Democrat, but this is about good people trying to provide the best education possible for the youth of Doylestown.
Supervisor Ryan Manion expressed her concern with the political division within the school district, stating that there is a “sad state of affairs in Central Bucks.”
A couple of community members questioned the legality of Santacecilia’s actions, with one stating that the district interoffice mail system is part of a public school district funded by taxpayer dollars, and Santacecilia’s actions exploited this system completely. To this, Supervisor Lyons explained how the board does not have the power to force resignation of a supervisor, “unless they have been convicted, not just accused, of a criminal act.”
“While I’m not up to date on what law may have been broken, what this person did was deceptive and deceitful, and if there is not a code of conduct in place for resignation, there definitely should be,” a community member responded.
Lyons, Manion, and Supervisors Dan Wood and Jennifer Herring all took a moment to address Santacelia directly, all sharing the belief that what she did was wrong. Wood noted that it was great hearing what the community members thought, as this can help steer the board into making their next steps.
Despite the demands of the community members and the vitriol from her fellow board members, Santacecilia did not step down from her position on the board. She spoke to her fellow supervisors and community members, explaining her actions without an apology.
“In terms of the actions of others and what is happening, people need to pay attention because of the children, the parents and the community that are being deceived, and I’ve been advised that that is all I can say,” Santacecilia said.
Santacecilia has served on the Doylestown Board of Supervisrs since 2020, when she ran on the Republican ticket and won a six-year term. She has not responded for comment at this time.