By Carla Kolbe
NORTHVILLE — The resignation of a secondary school principal and a pending merger referendum left board of education members here with more questions than answers Tuesday.
Michael Healey’s resignation was regretfully accepted by the NCS school board effective Aug. 26. He has accepted a position with Galway Central School as the new jr./sr. high school principal.
The Sept. 18 vote on the possibility of a merger with Mayfield Central School may change the criteria for filling of the now-vacant position.
According to school board president Jim Beirlein the board’s options include: hiring a principal, hiring an interim principal, or filling the position with a pre-k through 12 building principal, which would take a special variance from the state Education Department.
The first two options may prove difficult because they may be temporary with the possible merger looming, and the candidates would need to be up-to-date on the latest state requirements principals must adhere to. The third option leaves the door open for NCS Elementary Principal William Crankshaw to fill.
Following a lengthy executive session, the board emerged at 10:47 p.m. with a decision. “It is the desire of the board and administration to announce the best resolution is to advertise and refill the principal’s position and maintain the structure as it it now,” Beirlein said.
Previously, during the public comment session and speaking on behalf of many of her peers, high school teacher Martina Tooley brought up concerns as to what the vacancy proposed, and wanted the administration and board to invite the input from the people who work most closely, with the principal.
Among many details, the secondary principal is responsible for special education-CSE, scheduling, discipline and of great concern to many, teacher evaluations. With only one pre-k through 12 principal, evaluations may have been farmed out through BOCES, at a cost of $350 a day. Job assignments would have to be reassigned and a dean of discipline position touched upon as a suggestion.
The money has already been budgeted for the principal’s position, and shifting the job responsibilities elsewhere may total the same expense.
An active search is under way for a new principal. The search will keep in mind an interim principal should the vacancy require it, and the board will also follow through with state education on a variance for a one building principal as a back-up plan.
The issue of the merger with Mayfield is still a major concern for Northville residents, teachers and students. Many in attendance Tuesday do not yet know how they will vote. Issues such as the formation of the new board, the number of representatives, the length of board member terms, and how fairly the members elected will be from each district were questions asked.
It is still predicted that without the merger and state aid to follow, each of the school districts will be in jeopardy financially and unable to sustain on their own within a few years. The state could then come in, force the merger, and there would be no state aid incentive available.