April 25, 2013


Homer hires business manager

District’s elementary principal given the job after previous director resigns

Staff Reporter

HOMER — Homer Elementary School Principal Michael Falls will become the district’s new business director following Russell Hearton’s resignation effective April 12.
Hearton submitted his resignation April 1.
Hearton left for another job, said Superintendent of Schools Nancy Ruscio.
“It was to take on new employment,” Ruscio said.
Ruscio did not know where Hearton is working, she said.
Falls will start work as the director of business and finance July 1.
Thomas Strain is acting as the interim director. Strain was hired through Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES, Ruscio said, after the district asked the BOCES for a retired administrator who had previously acted as an interim director.
Strain is paid $400 a day and is working four days a week, Ruscio said. While at Homer, Strain will earn $20,800.
The district did not advertise the business director position, choosing instead to hire internally, Ruscio said.
“It was something that was going to be a good fit for him (Falls) and the district,” Ruscio said, noting that Falls has managed the district’s grant funding for several years.
Falls also has a school district administration certification that required financial training and qualifies him to be a school business director or superintendent, she said.
There is nothing unusual about a principal becoming a business director at the same school district, said Deborah Ayers, assistant superintendent for administration at OCM BOCES.
“Frankly, it’s not an unusual career path,” Ayers said, adding that business officials can come from public and private backgrounds.
OCM BOCES does a lot of the technical financial work for school districts and business directors are responsible for more than just number crunching, including supervision of all non-instructional areas, she said. The directors also must be able to interact with the public.
When asked if an area principal had ever become a business director, Ayers replied, “I don’t know off hand. I’m sure that it has at some time.”
While director, Hearton made $97, 517. Falls will make $122,280.
Falls will make as much as he currently is as a principal, Ruscio said, noting that he has worked at the district 10 years.
The district has already begun looking for a new principal for Homer Elementary School, Ruscio said.
“We’ll be doing a full search,” she said, adding that the job has already been posted on a statewide application website and through the School Administrators Association of New York State.
Applications are due the third week in May and a committee of staff, parents and community members will determine who becomes a finalist for the job, Ruscio said.
The target date for a new principal is July 1, she said.
The district is looking for and educator with a master’s degree with a school administration certification, Ruscio said, and has a preference for someone with a reading background in early education.
How much the new principal would be paid was not determined, but if the new principal had been hired for the current school year, under the negotiated administrators contract, that person would have been hired at $121,000, Ruscio said.
During the first year the principal would make 88 percent of the $121,000 salary, or $105,600, she said, noting that the contract was negotiated before she became superintendent.
During the second year the principal would make 92 percent of the salary, or $110,400; in the third year, 96 percent, or $115,200; and after four years the principal will receive the full $121,000.


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