BEVERLY - The Fort Frye Local Board of Education filled two vacant administrative positions Thursday and approved other changes expected to save the district more than $80,000.
"I really do think that this will streamline the operation and improve communication," Superintendent Tom Gibbs said.
Athletic director Beth Brown will become the assistant principal at Fort Frye High School on a two-year contract with an annual salary of $60,000 plus benefits. She was hired into the athletic director job last year, making $53,882, while teaching part of the day as well.
Brown will replace Trisha Delaney, who resigned last month to become principal of Warren Elementary School.
Brown will continue to handle the normal workday athletic director duties, but the district will offer a $3,092 supplemental contract for someone to fill that role on evenings and weekends to ensure proper coverage for events.
Megan Miller, a teacher at Coolville Elementary School, was hired as principal of Beverly-Center Elementary on a two-year contract with an annual salary of $56,228 plus benefits. She takes over for Brent Taylor, hired this summer as principal of Little Hocking Elementary School.
Fort Frye administration changes
- Athletic director Beth Brown will serve as Fort Frye High School assistant principal and athletic director at an annual salary of $60,000.
- A supplemental position will be created to handle the evening athletic director duties at a salary of $3,092.
- Megan Miller will serve as Beverly-Center Elementary School principal at an annual salary of $56,228.
- Curriculum director Noreen Mullens will take on the duties of special education coordinator, with her annual salary increasing to $72,000.
- Fort Frye High School Principal Susan Rauch will take on the duties of director of transportation on a supplemental contract paying her an additional $7,000 a year.
- The changes are expected to yield a savings of $82,192.39.
Source: Fort Frye Local School District.
A Waterford resident, Miller, 33, has taught first, seventh and eighth grades over her 12 years in the Federal Hocking Local school district.
"It's nice to be able to work in the community in which you live," she said.
The board also approved a new two-year contract for curriculum director Noreen Mullens, who will be taking on the duties of special education coordinator for the district. She will make $72,000 a year plus benefits. She was hired last year at a salary of $64,000.
Previously, the school psychologist oversaw special education in the district, but Gibbs said that can create a conflict of interest since the psychologist is responsible for testing and recommending services and the special education director signs off on the final individual education plan.
"We're actually increasing the amount of personnel directed at special education by half a position," Gibbs said. "I believe that Noreen is the right person."
Gibbs said nearly 25 percent of students in the district are identified as having special education needs, while the national average is 10 to 12 percent. He said he doesn't know whether the district just has an unusually high number or if there have been errors in classifying some of them.
"To think that Fort Frye Local is double the national average ... it's something that we should at least be looking at," Gibbs said.
He noted that students with IEPs generally cost districts about 30 percent more than other students.
Gibbs said he considered sharing a special education position with Warren Local Schools, where he also serves as superintendent. That arrangement would not have been cost-effective, he said, but Warren's coordinator would be available to assist Mullens as she takes on her new duties. The board could be asked to pay for five to 10 days of work.
In another change, the board approved a $7,000 supplemental contract for Fort Frye High School Principal Susan Rauch to serve as director of transportation. Currently, bus driver Jessica Lauric serves as transportation coordinator, but Gibbs said since she is a member of the local Ohio Association of Public School Employees bargaining unit, she cannot perform evaluations of other workers.
"I talked to a driver the other day who's been here for 10 years (and) never been given a written evaluation," Gibbs said.
All the moves were approved by votes of 4-0, with board Vice President Kevin Worthington absent.
The changes are expected to save the district an estimated $82,192.39, Gibbs said.
Board member David White said he likes the changes and appreciates the direction the district has been going since Gibbs was hired in May.
"I think it's great," he said.