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Mt. Pleasant Area may hire new administrator

| Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mt. Pleasant Area school directors will decide Monday whether to add a director of student affairs to the administrative staff.

Some oppose the idea.

"I don't see why this position is needed when it's been pointed out numerous times that enrollment is declining," resident and parent Terri Remaley said. "We have roofs leaking and garbage cans lining the hallways of elementary schools. The electrical system at Ramsay (Elementary) is subpar and there is mold in the gymnasium at Donegal Elementary.

"And yet you may see fit to add a position that will cost the district somewhere around $70,000 a year."

Remaley challenged board members to use their conscience when they vote on the issue.

Board President Robert Gumbita said directors do not plan to choose between a new administrative position and the needs of the district.

"That's why we're putting together a feasibility study concerning the needs of the district," he said. "If there are things that need addressed, they will be addressed."

Board members did not acknowledge Remaley claims.

Superintendent Frank Watson said the job description was put together at the direction of the board, and said the need of a new administrator is in part because of added state initiatives and requirements.

"There are several changes occurring at the state level," he said. "The truancy elimination plan requires a lot of time and involvement, and we're also hoping to use the position to respond to the intervention models for the state, where the district works with a student prior to being placed in special education."

Director Paul Mears went over the highlights of what the job would entail, including special education meetings; assisting in the planning and coordinating of truancy elimination plans; consulting with staff, parents and outside agencies regarding special education; and helping to insure compliance with local, state and federal laws and regulations relative to student services.

Minimum qualifications would be a level two permanent teaching certification in special education.

Director Denver Hudec said he is not in favor of the new position.

"I've been on the board for 21 years with seven superintendents and not one of those superintendents ever recommended that they needed more help," he said. "At one time we had 3,600 students in the district and now we're down to under 2,300."

The board will vote at a 7 p.m. meeting Monday.

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