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Schools cut, consolidate positions

May 22, 2002|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education eliminated two principal positions and consolidated four central office positions Tuesday night to help plug a $1.5 million hole anticipated for next year's budget.

Interim Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said a "series of cuts" will be made over the next few weeks.

The cuts come as a result of receiving less than the $5.78 million in new money the board requested from the Washington County Commissioners, school officials said.

The county is giving the School Board an increase of about $2 million, and the school system will receive about a $2.2 million increase from the state, leaving a gap of approximately $1.5 million.

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The School Board proposed a budget for fiscal 2003 of $132.8 million.

The School Board voted 6-0 on the cuts. Board member Roxanne Ober was absent.

The School Board cut the assistant principal job at Washington County Technical High School and the principal position at Fairview Outdoor Center.

Charles E. Swisher Jr., the current assistant principal at the technical high school, will become the assistant principal at Williamsport High School.

Edward Lee Weaver, supervisor of fine arts, will take on some of the assistant principal duties at the technical high school in the newly created post of supervisor of visual and performing arts programs. He will work at the technical high school.

Carl W. Stark, the principal of Fairview will become the principal of the Alternative Learning Center. A head teacher will be appointed to Fairview.

Director of Human Resources Donald Francis said the school system will save about $60,000 as a result of the principal and assistant principal cuts.

In addition, the School Board consolidated the supervisor of federal programs and the supervisor of early childhood programs jobs to create the position of director of funded and special programs.

Francis said the school system will save money by not filling one of the supervisor posts. Supervisors earn between $63,045 and $82,259 a year.

Roger B. Giles, principal of Williamsport High School, will take over the newly created position.

The School Board also consolidated the positions of interim executive assistant for instruction and interim executive assistant for administrations.

Shulamit Finklestein, the current interim executive assistant for instruction, will take over both roles in the job of executive assistant for strategic planning and board and community relations.

John Hull, the current interim executive assistant for administration is retiring, and that job will not be filled.

The School Board will use the money saved from Hull's post to fund, in part, the deputy superintendent position.

Morgan said the positions that were eliminated and consolidated are necessary positions, but that cuts had to be made somewhere so educational programs would not be touched.

"These are not frills, in my opinion," she said. "Many of these are have-tos .... We really have no choice but to do this."

As a result, she said, employees in the consolidated positions will take on double duties. She also said vacant positions will be filled only if there's money in the budget to do so.

Francis said principals who move on to supervisor and director roles wouldn't receive pay increases because they are on the same pay scales.

"Virtually all of those were lateral moves," he said.

The School Board will discuss future cuts at a budget work session on May 28 from 9:30 a.m. until noon at the board's central office.

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