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Skaneateles school board addresses curriculum changes

In other business:

--The board confirmed the results of the Dec. 10 public vote on a capital project bond referendum.

Assistant Superintendent of Businesses and Finance Dale Bates counted 25 absentee ballots making the final results 463 votes for and 183 against.

The bond, totaling $2.8 million, will be used for five facility projects including roof replacements and masonry restoration for the high school/middle school building. Work is set to begin in the summer of 2014. The district estimates that the 15-year debt from the project will add about $20 to the tax bill of a house valued at $275,000, starting with the 2015-16 school year budget.

--The board voted to approve an expense of $11,890 for a communications audit through a program with BOCES. The firm that does that audit comes highly recommended from the Fayetteville-Manlius school district, who also uses its services, board member Margaret Usdansky Niebuhr said.

--The board approved the appointment of three new administrators to their new roles, as previously announced. Gary Gerst was appointed as middle school principal with an annual salary of $108,000 and Stephen Widrick was appointed as elementary principal (in charge of both Waterman and State Street schools) with an annual salary of $119,286. Pat Brown was also appointed to be elementary assistant principal and director of professional development, at his current salary of $83,001. The men will start their new roles as of Feb. 1, at which time John Harmon, the interim middle school principal, will retire.

--The board voted to approve five new strategies for the next three years. They are:

  1. Hire the next superintendent and continue to build a top notch administrative team.
  2. Increase professional development for faculty and staff.
  3. Raise the bar on communications with community, Central New York, internal/external
  4. Develop a multi-year plan for budget and facilities
  5. Analyze educational programming and plan for ways to provide greater opportunities for students.

Board member Geralyn Huba said she would like the board to consider moving up the timeline for hiring a new superintendent of schools. The board had previously announced that the district will start looking for a new superintendent, again, in September of 2014. Huba suggested they revisit the search in spring 2014 and hire someone to start at the beginning of the next school year.

Board President Kathryn Carlson said they would revisit the idea at the board’s Jan. 7 work session.

Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at editor@skaneatelespress.com.

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