After announcing changes to the administration for the 2012-13 school year, the Miller Place School Board explained the changes at the Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.
The Board made the changes official as president John Magnani explained their thinking and future plans. Magnani said that the change from within was made because of continuity and stability after having three superintendents in four years was necessary. He also explained that an outside search would have come at an extra cost of $25,000 to the district.
"This year the board made a commitment to the community to keep an eye on costs," he said. "You have seen this with our commitment to staying at the tax cap while trying to save as many programs as possible."
Marianne Higuera has agreed that her salary and benefits will stay as is, with no increase of cost to the district, and the $5,000 concession will stay intact. Susan Hodun, now a permanent Assistant Superintendent, will have her salary reduced by approximately $50,000.
In addition to the cost of a superintendent search, the district would have had to pay approx $1,000 per day, the current market rate, to an acting super during the search.
The Board is also looking into hiring an entry-level business manager, and that they will look at both internal and outside candidates for the position.
"It would be the board's goal that this person would be fully trained to manage the business office in the future," Magnani said. "The agreement with Dr. Higuera ends with her retirement in five years, thus allowing us the ability to further develop other viable candidates."
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Both Hodun and Seth Lipshie will be Assistant Superintendents, with Lipshie being in charge of personnel and Hodun curriculum. Magnani said that Lisphie has been leading the development of the district's APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review) plan, which the district needs to have in tact in a timely manner or else they risk losing a portion of state aid. Hodun will be the first administrator in charge of curriculum in the district.
"It is a new and very important role in our district," Magnani said. "The board realizes that with ever increasing pressure on our district concerning such matters of curriculum development, increased testing, lackluster test scores and [being] a school under review, we as a district need to devote more time to curriculum."
Hodun said she appreciated her time as Interim Superintendent and is ready to take on her new role in charge of curriculum.
“I appreciate the opportunity that was afforded to me," she said. "Had it not been for the administrative team, principals, assistant principals, deans, faculty and staff that we have here doing what they do every day...that’s what makes it successful. I was lucky to have the opportunity to be involved with them as closely as I was.”