Skaneateles school district officials have been juggling many changes from the new common core standards to the superintendent taking a new job. And there are more changes to come within the district. Our Iris St. Meran sat down with the school board president and interim superintendent to learn more about how they plan to handle them.
SKANEATELES, N.Y. -- When Skaneateles schools lost their superintendent, Judith Pastel stepped up to take the job on an interim basis. This was only intended for a year, but the board decided to keep her until 2015 because of a number of other changes taking place.
Skaneateles Board of Education President Kathryn Carlson said, "We had retirements from half of our administrative staff. We're all at that age. We had major curriculum changes from the state, new student assessments."
And most of the school board members, including Carlson, are new to the position. So while they continue their search for a permanent superintendent and implement additional changes, they asked Pastel to stay for consistency.
"I was really delighted because this is a wonderful place to work," Pastel said.
But she knows she has her work cut out for her. One of the challenges is dealing with a declining enrollment and the administrative changes. Last week, Pastel recommended downsizing the district's principals from four to three. That will start next year. It’s a decision that will help financially. Pastel says a principal's annual salary could be $95,000 plus 28 percent for benefits.
Pastel explains, "It will either help us stay within the tax cap or it will help save a program for children, it will all comes together in the wash when we get closer to the budget."
Another change will be capital improvements. A multimillion dollar proposal was defeated this summer. Now they have a scaled back plan, which includes roof replacement, as well as safety and security replacements.
Carlson wants the community to know they are up for all the challenges.
She said, "With great change, comes great opportunity and we're all looking at it as a chance to excel."
The school board will adopt a building improvement proposal on October 15th and the public will vote on it December 10th.