September 23, 2020

SAD 32 board members waive stipends for next year

ASHLAND — Taking a step beyond the leadership example of Superintendent Stephen Giedosh, SAD 32 board members voted Wednesday to waive their stipends for the next year.

In a nearly unanimous vote, the 18 members turned back to the district nearly $5,000, about $275 each, they would have been paid for serving on the board.

At the last board meeting when directors of the board approved a contract for Giedosh, he refused to talk about increases in his salary or benefits.

“I wanted to set an example,” Giedosh said Thursday, having been on the job since Aug. 1. “Money is not my primary concern. It makes sense right now when everyone is economizing. I do get a significant salary and now is not the time to worry about my salary, but to worry about the education and safety of the children. I do not want to discuss increases or change in salary until the state makes a financial commitment to the district.”

Giedosh said the district was negotiating with teachers and administrators and he wanted to set an example “by leadership.”

The district was operating on a 1990-91 budget of $2,635,149. On Wednesday Giedosh confirmed that the district would be cut $10,500, or 2.206 percent, in the state allocation for the third quarter and at least the same amount for the fourth quarter. The district is expecting a minimum of 5 percent less state funding for the new budget.

Member William Coleman, chairman of the Building and Finance Committee, made the motion to waive the members’ annual stipend.

Members voted to discontinue operation of the activities bus after the winter sport season, saving about $13,000.

They voted to purchase a service kit at about $2,000 to be used in the event of an accident involving asbestos. The kit contains a special vacuum, suit and respirator. A contracted cleanup would cost the district a minimum of $800 a day, Giedosh said.

Members voted to solicit bids for removal and replacement of underground fuel tanks.

Directors accepted a school improvement plan for the district as presented by board member Amy Collins. She and a committee of staff and teachers spent four months preparing the plan.

Terry Depres, high school principal and Roger DeLong, a Middle School teacher, presented a plan for accreditation of the Middle School. The plan to improve the school’s environment included block scheduling to allow “teaming,” best space utilization, the meeting of all state requirements, an increase in parental involvement, regular meetings of staff members and utilizing home room periods as activity time. One- and two-year goals were established.

In other matters, members approved a grant application for Chapter II state funding of about $5,700 for remedial math and English programs.

They also approved a trial breakfast program. If the monthlong program proves to be beneficial and cost-effective, it will continue, directors said.

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