BY STACI WILSON
Blue Ridge Superintendent Robert McTiernan’s move to take over as executive director of the Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit will happen sooner than originally anticipated.
McTiernan was appointed as director in February, and was expected to take over the position in July.
But, according to a Times-Tribune report last week, current NEIU exec Clarence Lamanna, Ed. D., stepped down from the position on Tuesday, March 24, to take a family medical leave.
In what had been set by the board as a workshop meeting, as well as listed on the district website and daily school calendar as a workshop, the Blue Ridge school directors also held a surprise business meeting, and posted the agenda to the district website late Monday afternoon. The Susquehanna County Independent was unable to determine if the business meeting had been advertised.
The Blue Ridge School Board accepted McTiernan’s resignation, with regret, Monday night, March 30. The resignation was accepted for May 1 in an 8-1 vote, with board member Fred Dean Lewis sounding the lone “no” vote.
Through April, McTiernan will be paid $450 on a per diem basis, not to exceed 10 days, by the NEIU. He said he plans to use personal time from Blue Ridge during the month of April.
In May and June, McTiernan will be employed as acting director at the prorated rate of $130,000 per year before officially becoming executive director on July 1.
With the timeline in place for McTiernan’s exit from Blue Ridge, the school board named current elementary principal, Matthew Button, as Acting Superintendent, effective April 1 through June 30.
Board member Chris Lewis voted against the measure; with F. Dean Lewis abstaining from the vote.
Button was also named the district’s Open Record Officer, effective April 1.
Blue Ridge fourth grade teacher Danelle Decker was appointed Acting Principal, effecting April 1 though June 30.
With only four items on the business meeting agenda, the board adjourned to the scheduled workshop agenda.
The district is considering bringing on a full-time licensed social worker to provide additional counseling and therapy for students.
Special Education Direction Bobbi McCain said the contracted social worker is now seeing about 20 students, some more than one time each week.
McTiernan said that if the district considered adding a full-time person in that capacity to the staff, funding then available to the district would keep cost in line with what is being paid for the part-time service.
The district is also looking at the cost of several possible projects at the campus this summer.
Work being considered include a repair of a portion of the gymnasium floor, as well as new bleachers; parking lot paving and patching work; and repairs to the gravel roofs.
Some technology upgrades are also being considered, including an upgrade to the wiring.
Technology committee chair Shane Rumage said the district’s current wiring does not support the existing technology in the schools. A grant is available to offset some of those costs, he said.
The board also reviewed the developing 2015-16 school budget; and no tax increases are expected this year, according to McTiernan.
KATHLEEN BOLUS, Times-Shamrock staff writer also contributed to this report.