By Melissa Klaric
Herald Staff Writer
WEST MIDDLESEX AREA —
West Middlesex Area School officials on Monday updated taxpayers on the search for a new superintendent and clarified why they have not provided details of the June 30 retirement of Superintendent Alan J. Baldarelli.
They did so only after Shenango Township resident and former board member Yvonne Hassell asked about the superintendent situation, including how many people have applied for the post. Retired Mercer superintendent Lawrence Connelly, who also served as an interim in Farrell schools, has been filling in as acting superintendent since July 7.
In near chorus fashion, the board told her 10 people have applied.
“We have a wide range of applicants from all over the state,” Connelly said. They come from a range of current positions – superintendents, principals, assistant superintendents, for example, he said.
The board planned to discuss those applicants for the first time in executive session after the meeting, Connelly said.
Hassell then wanted to know how much Baldarelli’s retirement package is costing taxpayers.
One school director said Baldarelli has continued insurance for dependents for a number of years – maybe three to five.
When Hassell requested the amount of money Baldarelli is being paid for unused sick and vacation days, Business Manager James Hughes responded he did not have the number with him but told Hassell she could call him for the exact amount.
The meeting ended when board solicitor James Nevant II disputed a July 16 report in The Herald about Connelly being hired.
A school board member who spoke to The Herald on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution against the family’s children in school said Baldarelli’s retirement package was not divulged to board members, nor discussed by them.
Nevant said that was “blatantly incorrect.”
He said the board discussed Baldarelli’s retirement on at least two occasions. After poring over the details at the work sessions, he said, “the board made a full and intelligent vote.”
Nevant also took exception to The Herald’s statement that neither Baldarelli nor Nevant would provide details of the retirement agreement.
He said they fully intend to disclose any details the law allows whenever a clearly worded and understandable right-to-know request is submitted.