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Pleasant Valley approves new administrator position

Published September 17. 2019 12:37PM

After a heated debate, the Pleasant Valley School District Board of Education voted 5-4 to approve a new administrative position titled Assistant to the Superintendent of Operations last Thursday.

This administrator will report directly to the superintendent and will oversee transportation, food services, school police and security, fundraising, student field trips and student data management, according to the position description.

Susan Kresge, Kenneth Cocuzzo, Russell Gould, Robert Serfass and Daniel Wunder voted in favor, and Donna Yozwiak, Laura Jecker, Leonard Peeters and Delbert Zacharias voted against the position.

Superintendent David Piperato, who was absent from the meeting, proposed this position under the title “supervisor” at a board meeting in August.

He explained it as a restructuring of administrative duties.

Administrators who formerly oversaw operations weren’t buildings and grounds people, Piperato said. A director of buildings and grounds was responsible for maintenance.

But Travis Serfass, the former director of buildings and grounds, recently resigned and has not been replaced. Since current Director of Operations William Gasper has expertise in buildings and grounds, the new position will reassign Gasper’s administrative duties and leave him free to focus on maintenance.

There is already room in the budget for the position, Cocuzzo said.

Currently, Assistant to the Superintendent Joshua Ziatyk and Gasper are handling most of these responsibilities.

Board members who supported the position defended it as necessary for the district to run smoothly. But other board members cited the need to save money and wanted to defer the decision for several months.

“This is not the time to hire a new administrator. It’s a time to tighten our belts,” Peeters said during the discussion.

Peeters pointed to the county tax reassessment that will affect next year’s school tax bills and needed repairs to school buildings.

Yozwiak agreed, citing a drop in enrollment.

As of last Thursday, enrollment was at 4,952 students, which is 100 fewer students than last year at the same time. This is a 2% decrease.

“I do think we have to respect the taxpayer, but I think the taxpayers expect us to run a ship well,” Wunder responded. “And I think that position helps us do that.”

The board was also divided on the position title.

Yozwiak suggested the position have a different title in order to draw a smaller salary.

Cocuzzo responded that a title like “director” would undersell the position and attract an inferior pool of applicants. Ziatyk said that a director could not oversee other directors.

Jecker also questioned the need for another administrator.

“There’s supervisors looking over supervisors and directors looking over directors,” she said. “If you’re gonna hire good people and think they’re the best, why do you have watchdogs over them?”

The new administrator must have at least five years of administrative/supervisory experience, and hold a Principal’s Certificate or Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility, according to the job description posted on the district website.

The salary amount for the new position will depend on the candidate and the market, according to Piperato.

Less students, more money, more money. Where will this end? Piperato used Pleasant Valley to pad his resume and spring into a job paying $25k more a year. He created multiple new positions, saddling taxpayers with higher expenses that will remain after he is gone. And you'll pay more later when these people retire, out of PA's unsustainable and lucrative pension plan. The piper will demand to be paid one day. Electing new school board members is your only recourse.

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