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Leechburg Area puts off hiring superintendent

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 1:01 a.m.

The Leechburg Area School Board won't name a new superintendent until almost Thanksgiving.

The school board on Wednesday postponed the appointment until Nov. 20.

Board Solicitor Robert Cinpinski said the candidate, whom officials would not identify, was in Hershey last week for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association conference when the board submitted its offer.

Cinpinski said the conference prevented the candidate from sufficiently reviewing the contract by Wednesday's meeting,when the board planned to name the new district leader.

“It's a long and complex document,” he said. “You want to make sure you spend enough time on it, but negotiations have been going well. We're pretty confident things are going to work out with him.”

Whoever signs the proposed five-year contract will relieve interim Superintendent Frank Prazenica after 4 12 months of service. Prazenica took over in July for Jim Budzilek, who left to become superintendent of the Mars Area School District in Butler County.

Prazenica is being paid $400 per day while he holds the interim position.

The board also delayed its decision to name longtime board member David Matuscin's replacement after accepting his resignation Wednesday night. Career obligations forced Matuscin to step down after 13 years on the board.

“I loved serving on the board and I think we accomplished a lot of great things,” Matuscin said. “Unfortunately, my work schedule is terrible, and I feel like I'd be doing the district a disservice if I tried to stay on. It's time to step aside.”

Board officials on Oct. 9 said Matuscin's successor would be one of the applicants who sought to fill a vacancy left in August by former president Terry Knepshield. The seat was filled in September by Jeremy Smail who defeated Megan Hamm of Leechburg and Kathryn J. Vargo of West Leechburg.

However, Hamm is running as a write-in candidate for one of the four other seats up for election Nov. 5.

If she would win that election, she would receive a four-year term.

Matuscin's successor would serve until December 2015.

Up for re-election are board President Jean Stull and Smail. Smail is running as a write-in candidate.

Also on the ballot are challengers Vargo, Terri Smith and Chuck Pascal.

State law requires the Matuscin vacancy to be filled by Nov. 22.

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com.

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