The board wants to hire a business manager soon.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- The school board has filled one of the district's three open administrative positions by promoting Dante Zambrini to superintendent.
On Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 to approve a two-year contract for Zambrini that will pay him $83,152 for the 2002-03 school year.
Board members Charles Eddy Jr., Sam Pitzulo and Martha Zarlenga voted to approve the contract, while board member Bruce Brocker and board president Mark Squicquero were opposed.
The board also voted to create the position of business manager. Squicquero said the board wants to fill the position as soon as possible.
Zambrini added that the board hopes to hire a new director of special education before the beginning of the school year. The district's last director of special education resigned at the end of the 2001 school year to take a job in Chagrin Falls.
Eddy said his vote for Zambrini's contract was influenced by community opinion. About 200 residents, teachers and school employees attended a May school board meeting to ask the board to promote Zambrini from assistant superintendent to superintendent.
"I have a responsibility to the voters who elected me," Eddy said.
Squicquero, however, said he felt he had to remain objective and unemotional during the hiring process. Brocker added that he had hoped to hire a more experienced superintendent.
The other two finalists for Canfield superintendent each had experience as superintendent. They were Dennis Kowalski, Strongsville schools superintendent, and Charles Swindler, Western Reserve superintendent.
Zambrini, who has worked in the district for 26 years, was promoted from director of administration to assistant superintendent during the last year. He also has served as a high school teacher and as principal of Canfield Middle School.
Brocker, Squicquero and Zambrini each said the vote wouldn't affect their working relationships with one another.
Zambrini replaces Doug Hiscox, who the board gave the title of associate superintendent. Hiscox is set to resign Jan. 31 to pursue other jobs in education.
Squicquero said Hiscox's main responsibility during the next six months will be revising board policy. Hiscox's contract calls for him to earn $93,992 for the year.
Under his new contract, Zambrini, 48, won't get a raise from what he earned this year as assistant superintendent. Zambrini said that out of concern for the district's financial status, he asked the board not to give him a raise for at least a year.
The Ohio Association of Public School Employees, which represents the district's custodial staff, secretaries and aides, also has decided not to seek a salary increase during the next year, the board said.
School officials have said that without additional revenue, the district will be placed in a fiscal emergency by the state next year. The board voted unanimously to place a five-year, 6.9-mill additional operating levy request on the November ballot.
The same levy request failed in the May election.
Zambrini said that as superintendent, his priorities will include finding additional revenue for the district. That revenue could come from the levy as well as public and private grants, he added.
Zambrini said he also will work to conserve public tax dollars by conserving paper, electricity, and other resources. "We will be responsible stewards of [the public's] finances," he said.
Squicquero noted that the new business manager will be responsible for helping to administer tax revenue, giving Zambrini more time to deal with the district's educational needs.
Board members added that they will have the money to hire the business manager because they are not hiring an assistant superintendent to replace Zambrini.