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Springfield superintendent retiring

7/17/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Neal Hess appointed to open board seat

LAKEMORE — Springfield Local Schools Superintendent William Stauffer will retire Jan. 31, 2015.

The Springfield Board of Education accepted his resignation after an executive session after the regular meeting July 15.

Stauffer said after the meeting that an assistant superintendent will be named during a special board meeting July 22, with the position to be effective Aug. 1 through Jan. 31, 2015, and then the person will be named superintendent effective Feb. 1.

“The board has been working hard on this for several months in special meetings,” he said. “I am retiring due to changes in the teacher retirement system that require me to leave after 35 years or see penalties in my pension.”

Stauffer has been with the district since August 2007. Previously, he was superintendent of Rootstown Local School District.

While at Springfield Local Schools, he oversaw the district’s efforts to move out of fiscal emergency, which lasted from May 2007 to November 2011. Stauffer also led the district to pass a bond issue on the first attempt for the construction of a new $42 million school for students in seventh through 12th grades.

Students moved into the new building in January, but the construction project is still in litigation regarding fixes needed for some areas of the second floor that vibrated while being walked on.

Also under Stauffer’s leadership, test scores in the district increased, which earned the district an “Excellent” rating on the state report card four times, according to Stauffer.

“We have certainly had some ups and downs, but we have accomplished great things here,” he said. “It has been a real team effort — from the board, a great administrative team and staff. There are lots and lots of good people here. It’s been a highlight of my career.”

Stauffer said he has nothing specifically planned after retirement, but he added that his wife, Teresa, retired as a teacher last year, and they plan to winter in Florida and to spend more time with family.

The regular board meeting that evening began with a welcome to Neal Hess, who was appointed to former board member’s Cindy Collins’ seat. He was sworn into office during a special meeting July 14. Collins resigned last month due to a move out of the district. Hess previously served on the board from Jan. 1, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2014. He will retain his new seat on the board through 2015.

Hess stated he applied for the seat because he felt it would be a smooth transition for the district. He does not know if he will run in 2015 to retain the seat, he added.

Also at the meeting, Treasurer Chris Adams reported the final appropriations for fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, approved by the board that evening, show a cash balance of more than $7.7 million.

“I am really pleased,” said Adams. “This is a good sign. Without the current litigation, we could have seen a cash balance of $9 million. That doesn’t mean we won’t see it, we just have to wait for the settlement.”

The board also approved accepting a donation of $4,500 from the Roosevelt Parent Group to be used for the purchase of new playground equipment for Spring Hill Elementary, formerly Spring Hill Junior High School. The equipment will be installed by the end of the month, according to district officials.

The Junior High was closed in January after the students in seventh and eighth grades moved into the new school building on Canton Road.

According to district officials, renovations to Spring Hill included painting the interior, adding new flooring and remodeling the library to add several classrooms. Business Manager Dan Laskos said classrooms for students in kindergarten through third grade are currently being moved from Roosevelt Elementary, which is being closed due to its age.

Stauffer also reported at the board meeting that the new parking lots at the high school will be completed by the start of the school year in late August.

In other business, the board approved:

  • a contract with the Summit County Educational Service Center to provide one OTES evaluator for the 2014-15 school year at a cost of $27,150;
  • a service agreement with Time Warner Cable to increase Internet speed at the Administrative Building on Massillon Road, which was not available at the time the staff moved in;
  • the resignation of teacher Jennifer Boyer, effective the 2014-15 school year;
  • the employment of Berthe Leavitt, Shane Curry and John Kinsey as full-time teachers; Phyllis Holmes as a seven-hour educational assistant in the high school library; Vance Rife as semi-skilled maintenance worker; Carol Zeitler as a six-hour custodian; and Tracy Barlow as an eight-hour custodian; and
  • 22 supplemental sports contracts.

The next board meeting will be Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at Spring Hill Elementary, located at 650 Lessig Ave.

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