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Butler Area hires former administrator as superintendent

| Monday, March 17, 2014, 11:58 p.m.

Butler Area School Board on Monday chose a former administrator in the district as its new leader.

The board, in a 9-0 vote, approved the hiring of Dale Lumley to succeed Michael Strutt as superintendent. Strutt is retiring effective June 30.

“Congratulations to Dr. Lumley,” said board Vice President Carmen Bianco. “We look forward to servicing with him.”

Lumley will begin on July 1, but Strutt said he will be kept informed of district business, including the adoption of a school budget.

Lumley did not attend the meeting. He issued a statement that read, in part, “While the Butler School District, like many others across the state, faces great challenges, I have faith in the dedicated teachers and administrators to meet these challenges.”

The board was divided on his salary.

In a 6-3 vote, the board approved a five-year pact for Lumley, with an initial salary of $162,000. Strutt's annual salary is just over $153,000.

“Some of us are in disagreement with the salary amount,” board member Bill Halle said. Halle, James Keffalas and Neil Convery voted no. Bianco, Karen Callihan, John Conrad, David Korn, Don Pringle and Al Vavro approved the salary and other employment conditions. Convery said the district “has to have cost savings in the context of the community we serve.”

Lumley, 57, of Summit became South Butler School District superintendent in September 2010. His salary for the 2013-14 school year is $140,261.

He spent 25 years in the Butler Area School District as an English teacher, assistant principal and principal.

He was assistant superintendent for the Gateway School District in Monroeville before moving to South Butler.

Butler Area has about 7,500 students. It's facing upheaval in the next year or so, with enrollment declines and other sweeping changes driving the possibility of school closures.

School board members said the district wants a superintendent in place soon so the person has a say in replacing Assistant Superintendent Carolyn Cornish and Business Manager Cathy Rodgers, who are retiring June 30 along with Strutt. Strutt said Lumley will work with the district on those hires.

Bill Vidonic is a Trib Total Mediastaff writer.

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