EASD shifts two principals

By on February 1, 2012

By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Gary OberlyGary Oberly

Staffing changes recently approved by the Ephrata Area School District School Board will fill various administrative positions through attrition, consolidation and transfers making it unnecessary to hire new personnel.

The move helps the district to consolidate and re-align administrative and district office responsibilities.

At the Monday, Jan. 23 regular school board meeting, directors approved the transfer of Gary Oberly from his role as principal at Fulton Elementary School to his new role as District Coordinator of Instructional Technology. Replacing him there is Josh McCracken, who will be transferred from his role as assistant principal at the Ephrata Intermediate School. Other change reported was Dan Mahlandt officially being named the new Coordinator of Virtual Education.

Two positions have been absorbed in the process, namely the Transportation and Intermediate School Assistant Principal positions. According to school spokesperson Stephanie Gingrich, the annual savings to be realized in the move will be $84,000.

"These savings are in addition to savings generated over the past several years by reducing staff through consolidation, retirement, and attrition by 19 professional positions and six support positions," explained Gingrich. "In addition, we have also reduced aides’ hours and overtime hours for a substantial savings."

Vanessa Binkley, district office receptionist, will be the district’s new transportation support person.

"This new administrative line-up and consolidations demonstrate how our district has held steadfast in capitalizing on opportunities to be more efficient by looking to internal capacity instead of hiring additional staff," added Gingrich. "We believe these administrative adjustments will allow the district to continue to operate in an effective and efficient manner. We are confident that these changes support the district’s mission to continue ‘Achieving success one student at a time’ in a fiscally efficient manner."

For several years, the Ephrata school board and administration have been preparing for escalating costs in several other areas as well, such as health care, retirement, charter school tuition, transportation, utilities, and special education services.

Gingrich expanded on the rationale behind the recent changes.

"Our board had the foresight to designate funds for some of the increases," she said. "Several cost-cutting initiatives have been put in place in anticipation of increased costs. Also, administrative salaries were frozen for the 2011-2012 school year. Governor Corbett’s 2011-2012 education budget cut, along with the tough economy, have reinforced the importance of the preparations that the district made in anticipation of a tight budget. We anticipate additional cuts in state education funding for the 2012-2013 school year."

Gingrich pointed out that the district has been able to hold the line on taxes in the current budget and that district leaders are committed to staying within the tax index with the 2012-2013 budget.

"We anticipate that budgets in the next several years will continue to be difficult due to decreased dollars from the state and a struggling economy" added Gingrich.

She also details several other cost-cutting initiatives which have created substantial savings. These included such things as timers and thermostats installed on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units, software utilized to monitor daily electric usage to pinpoint high usage and lighting retrofitted with more energy efficient bulbs and motion sensors. The high school boiler was converted to natural gas and the electric for Akron and Clay Elementary Schools is being collectively purchased. (Gingrich explained that all other district buildings are in the Ephrata Borough grid and ineligible for collective purchasing.)

For additional information on Ephrata Area School District visit eadspa.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments and questions at klingerglobal@gmail.com. More SCHOOL DISTRICT, page A12

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