Greencastle-Antrim School District realigns upper level jobs
The G-A school board approved rearranging some top positions due to the elimination of the assistant director of educational operations. Celeste Beard, who was hired for that spot last year, is out as of June 30. The measure was approved by Mike Still, Jim Winslow, Linda Farley, Tracy Baer, Brian Hissong, Ken Haines and Lura Hanks. Eric Holtzman and Melinda Cordell were absent from the June 19 meeting.
The board also got rid of the title of business manager for Jolinda Wilson, and changed it to chief financial officer/chief support services operational officer; and changed the title of director of educational operations for Bob Crider to chief educational officer; both effective June 30.
The new jobs required more responsibility, said Superintendent Greg Hoover. Each incorporated some of the duties of Beard.
Wilson and Crider each received a $10,000 raise. Wilson remained in a contracted position and signed a five-year contract, with a salary of $99,250. Crider shifted from an Act 93 position, which applies to school administrators, to a contracted position, valid for four years. His salary for 2014-15 was $109,592.
“We are looking to the future, including retirements, and we are in the middle of a lot of things, so these two will still be here,” said Hoover.
He added that the previous salaries were low from a comparative study of other school districts, part of the justification for the raise along with the workload.
The board also gave permission for G-ASD to hire two teachers, a half-time high school science position (with biology and chemistry certification) and a full-time elementary teacher. The first position would yield at least a $20,000 savings from the current year, because a vacant social studies position would not be filled, and a rearrangement of staff would allow more in-depth science courses to be taught. It would better prepare students for the biology portion of the Keystone exams as well. Science class sizes would also be smaller.
“In walking through the building, those classes were beyond capacity,” Hanks said.
Funds for the elementary teacher would come from reserves.
“It’s financial risk,” said Hoover, “but it’s best for the kids. I appreciate what the board did.”
The extra person meant class sizes in third grade would drop from 31 to 25, fifth grade from 30 to 26, and fourth grade would remain at 28.
The large number of students was not an anomaly either, Hoover continued.
“We’re not going to have bubble years. They are all bubble years.”
Gregg McLanahan from Public Financial Management brought good news on refinancing the 2009A Series bonds. He was surprised, but interest rates had dropped more than he ever expected. The outstanding balance of $3 million could be sold again in bonds, or covered with a competitive bank loan. It would result in a savings of over $53,000 in interest payments. The board authorized McLanahan to proceed. The rate would be locked in in August.
In other business, the board extended the start time for the secondary schools from 7:35 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. effective in the 2014-15 school term. The extra minutes could make a difference in makeup days if the district went through another harsh winter, Hoover said.
Beginning Aug. 7, school board meetings will be held at the Antrim Township municipal building.