SHARPSVILLE SCHOOLS Board vote nixes raises for top posts

The school board also failed to approve three change orders for improvements to the football field.
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- A number of mid- and low-level Sharpsville School District administrators got pay raises Monday, but the superintendent and his assistant didn't.
The vote to grant $2,800 pay raises to Dr. Derry Stufft, superintendent, and Dr. Douglas Hazlett, his assistant, for the current school year failed in 4-1 votes. School Director Chris Ruffo cast the dissenting votes.
Only five board members attended the regularly scheduled meeting. Attorney John Reed, board solicitor, said votes on spending money required a five-member majority approval from the nine-member board.
With four members absent, that meant all five had to vote yes on the pay raises.
All five -- Ruffo, David DeForest, Susan Pokorney, Joyce Grandy and Terry Karsonovich--did vote yes on nine pay increases averaging about 3.6 percent but not for the increases for the top two administrators.
Hazlett is earning $79,750. Stufft, who said his salary is around $85,000, had little comment on the rejection of his raise.
Pleased about others: He said he was pleased the board gave the other administrators pay raises.
Reed said the school board could bring the issue up again at a special board meeting Oct. 9 when more board members are expected to attend.
One who won't be there is Robert A. Donatelli, whose resignation the board accepted Monday.
Donatelli, who served for more than a decade, was up for re-election this year but said in a letter to the board that his electrical contracting business is requiring more of his time and he no longer has adequate time for school district issues.
The board elected Karsonovich to serve as vice president until the annual reorganization meeting in December.
Board president: There's also an effort under way to remove Robert Timmerman from the board president's position.
Timmerman has missed the past two regular board meetings, and Ruffo introduced a motion calling for his resignation as board president, saying later that he is unhappy with Timmerman's absence and his failure to respond to his questions about work on the football field authorized by Timmerman and Donatelli without board approval.
Reed said he isn't sure such a motion is legal, though the school code does allow removal of a school director for unexcused absences from two consecutive regular meetings.
Meeting recessed: Pokorney seconded Ruffo's motion but had to leave for a religious commitment before the debate ended, and DeForest, who was serving as acting president, immediately recessed the meeting because a quorum was no longer present.
The board also failed to approve three contracts totaling $25,300 for additional work done to re-sod the football field, work authorized by Timmerman and Donatelli.
The board had awarded a $17,900 contract to Scott Lawn Yard of Sanborn, N.Y., to grade and re-seed the field, but it was apparent the grass wouldn't take root in time for the football season. So Timmerman and Donatelli took responsibility for accepting an alternative proposal in the Scott bid to re-sod the field.
The votes on all three contracts were 4-1 with Ruffo casting the dissenting vote, saying he won't be prepared to vote on the issues until he can talk with Timmerman about the field work.

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