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Austintown superintendent, board member call truce



Published: Sun, October 7, 2012 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Elise Franco

efranco@vindy.com

Austintown

Schools Superintendent Vincent Colaluca and board of education member Harold Porter say they will work out their differences to move toward a better Austintown school district.

Last month Porter sent an email to Colaluca and the school board, calling for the superintendent’s resignation. In it, Porter called Colaluca a “dictator” and an inadequate leader.

Colaluca responded with a written letter of his own, distributed at the Sept. 19 board meeting, that states Porter publicly made “false and defamatory statements about me.”

Since then Colaluca said he’s reached out to Porter to try to work out their issues.

“I never had an issue with Mr. Porter, but do I have an issue with someone asking for my resignation? Sure I do,” Colaluca said. “Can we move past it and move forward? Yes we can.”

Porter said he stands by his comments but is willing to move on for the sake of the school district.

“I can professionally work together with him, and I will not jeopardize the integrity of the district to keep a feud going,” he said. “I will pledge not to publicly go after him, but my feelings are still the same.”

Colaluca said he and the board need to maintain focus on what matters the most: students.

“My responsibility is to take care of the district as a whole,” he said. “We’ve cut costs without taking away services or academic programs.”

Colaluca said the district tried other methods to raise or save money, such as pay-to-participate sports, but it wasn’t the right thing then and isn’t the right thing now.

“For our community, with our demographics, pay-to-play and reducing busing doesn’t work,” he said. “We needed to find other ways to make the adjustments.”

Teachers and staff have had to bear the brunt of the cuts to maintain the current level of academic services, the superintendent added.

“When it comes to our staff, have we made some adjustments that make it tougher on them? Yes,” he said. “The feeling that ‘the job has gotten harder over the years and I’ve not gotten more pay,’ is true.”

Colaluca said wage freezes, reductions in force and reductions in busing hours have been an unfortunate necessity to keep Austintown’s academics on the rise. He said that even through the hardships, the district achieved a milestone on this year’s state report cards by meeting 26 of 26 performance indicators for the first time.

“People are stepping up and doing the work,” he said. “Hopefully, when these report cards come out, they’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.”


Comments

1DaleSFleischer(5 comments)posted 2 years ago

.Mr. Porter and Mr. Colaluca may have called a truce, but what about the Austintown Community. A petition was passed around and I am one that agrees wants Mr. Colaluca to step down or the Board to remove him from his position. There has been a lot of wasted money in the school system, as an example, the school board has elected to pay $32K to a marketing firm out of Teledo to redesign the school logo. What was wrong with the other logo? If they wanted to come up with a new design, why pay someone else to design it? Why not use the talents of our students? What about enlisting the students from the Mahoning County Career and Technical School? There are other ways to come up with that would not have cost the district any money. The design could have been submitted by students and voted on by the students. This gives the students more pride in their school. This money could have been used for better things. It seems that the first thing to go in any budget is the health care benefits of the employees. So what did they do? They cut the bus drivers hours by 1/2 hour just so they did not have to pay benefits. Some of these employees have been with the school district for years and have now lost everything. The more common sense thing to do, would be to continue benefits for all current employees, but when hiring new employees, make the cuts at that time. Do away with open enrollment as it has cause a burden on our school system. No tax money for these individuals and most are on free or reduced meals. We are losing money! At the end of the school year last year it was addressed about bullying that was going on and nothing was done about it. I do know one thing and that if the Austintown School Board does not force Mr. Vince Colaluca to resign, I know I will not be Voting for ANY new school levies and I will not Voting for any of these Board Members when they are up for reelection. Mr. Colaluca states that he has not received at pay raise. I'm sure when the financial report comes out it will show otherwise and what about his benefits. He should have his benefits cut if he is going to cut others. He stated at the last meeting that he "WOULD NOT BE STEPPING DOWN". That's not up to him, it's up to the community and I believe the community has spoken. I also think the School Board needs to adopt a policy that if you are going to be employeed in top positions in this district you must also live in the district. And if your are on the School Board, you should have students in the school district. They are not supporting our students only their own agenda. Austintown Residency need to take a stand and help remove Mr. Colaluca and next year not re-elect the 3 board members currently on the school board!

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