SHINGLEHOUSE — Dr. Michele S. Hartzell resigned from her position as superintendent of Oswayo Valley School District, effective July 31. She’s been the superintendent here since June 2015. The school board accepted her resignation by a 6-1 vote during Monday night’s meeting. Board member Mitch DeLong voted no, Kimberley Voorhees was not present.
Hartzell opened the meeting with a prepared statement, saying she accepted a position as superintendent of schools in Erie County, near her hometown.
“I’m very excited to be closer to home with my family and friends,” Hartzell said. “I wanted to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity to serve the children of the Oswayo Valley School District.”
During public comment, Shinglehouse resident Dan Antonioli spoke about his concerns of a dysfunctional board.
“Turnover continues to be a problem in our school district. Turnover constitutes one of the signs of a dysfunctional organization,” Antonioli said. “If I may ask for the school board to consider taking the necessary steps to correct this problem so our children are not adversely affected by this continued attitude of this board.” He thanked Hartzell for her commitment to the school district and said she would be sorely missed.
According to the minutes from the May 31 board meeting, 19 residents, teachers and coaches in the district spoke in concern of a termination notice received by Alec Peinkofer, director of activities. After public comment, the board had an approximately 20-minute long executive session where Peinkofer’s contract and position was discussed. After, the board voted 7-0 to rescind Peinkofer’s termination notice.
During Monday’s meeting, Christopher F. Sennett, district solicitor, read a statement about the executive session and May board meeting, in relation to the termination notice received by Peinkofer.
Sennett said the school board was evaluating the 2019-20 budget and finances in May and was looking at areas of consolidation within the administration. That led to a discussion about Peinkofer’s position. His contract either needed to be renewed or terminated by June 30.
“Several ideas were discussed, including budgetary concerns and the potential for utilizing the director of activities as a certified position and using the position to hire an athletic trainer,” Sennett said. He added even if the agreement automatically renewed with no notice of termination or renewal given in writing to Peinkofer, the determination of the employment agreement was placed on the May 31 meeting agenda for school board discussion or vote.
In a review of the final budget, the anticipated revenue is $8,447,812, with expenditures of $8,872,812. Revenue increased 3.8% and expenditures increased 6.7% from last year, with a net increase in the budget of 2.9%. A vote on the final budget will take place during the next board meeting.
The board approved the 2019-20 tax rates at 44 mills for Potter County (down from a little over 46.8 mills) and 13.51 mills for McKean County (up from 13.0863 mills). The earned income tax rate is 1%, realty transfer tax rate is 3% and the flat occupational assessment is $100.
The board voted 4-3 for Ronald Pire to fill a vacant board seat for Region III, previously held by Brandy Graves, who resigned at the May 13 board meeting. Board members Douglas Resig, Diane West and DeLong voted no.
In Pire’s letter of interest, he wrote he has three kids who are enrolled or have graduated from the district, volunteers at the senior center, coached baseball for several years and has been a substitute teacher for the district.
The next board meeting will be a special meeting held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24.