The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

April 24, 2014

2 principals to be hired

1 for each school, directors decide

SHARPSVILLE — Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

The 6-3 vote means the board wants the district’s middle and high schools each to have a principal as they did until the two former principals took new positions this year in the district.

Directors, with an eye on costs, have been talking for more than a year about ways they could reorganize administrative duties. One option – now rejected – was to have one principal for both schools.

Some thought the discussions were taking too long, threatening to limit the hiring choices directors might have if the board didn’t soon decide whether to hire one principal or two.

The issue had been set for a vote at Tuesday’s meeting but President Bill Henwood said he took it off the agenda because the board didn’t have enough cost information.

“It is our fiscal responsibility to know what the costs will be today, tomorrow and next year,” he said. “Give me that number and we can have a vote.”

John Napotnik put the issue back before the board, insisting on a vote. He argued that having a principal dedicated to each school has the backing of teachers and has been a key ingredient in the success students have had with standardized tests.

Napotnik serves on the board’s personnel committee with Gary “Gus” Grandy and Rick Haywood, who have been reviewing applications.

Grandy, along with Henwood and Jerry Trontel, opposed the motion, saying they didn’t have enough information about costs or other changes in staff and curriculum that might be made as the board works on next year’s budget.

David DeForest suggested $200,000 for salaries and benefits for two principals as a rough cost estimate. That prompted Superintendent Dr. Brad Ferko to ask directors not to be so specific about numbers.

As personnel matters, salaries and benefits should first be agreed on by the board in executive session, Ferko said.

Noting that the interviewing and hiring process will take time and that other districts are also seeking administrators, Napotnik urged the board to decide its direction in order to have principals ready to start work July 1.

“Having principals in both schools is so important that I’m in favor of raising taxes if that’s what it takes,” Napotnik said. “If we have to make cuts later I think we should be prepared to do that.”

After the vote, Grandy, as chairman of the personnel committee, said the panel would meet May 1 to review applications and recommend at least three candidates for each position for Ferko and the board to consider.

The board has received 48 applications.

Ferko set May 6 and 7 as dates for interviews and said he could be ready to make recommendations to the board in time for the May 12 work session.


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