Satisfactory? Muncy parents not happy with chief of schools

Muncy parents not happy with chief of schools

KATELYN HIBBARD/Sun-Gazette Concerned community members listen to speakers at the Muncy School Board meeting Monday evening.

MUNCY — The Muncy School Board approved an increase in salary for the district’s superintendent at a meeting Monday, amid fielding questions from district parents regarding fiscal responsibility and accountability.

Superintendent Craig Skaluba received an increase of 2.8 percent to his salary after the school board approved his evaluation for the 2017-18 school year. The increase is a part of Skaluba’s contract with the district, which states that he is to earn a 1.5 percent increase to his base salary for a satisfactory evaluation and another 1.3 percent increase if the evaluation is beyond satisfactory.

Mary Reis, a parent at the district, cited Skaluba’s raise, along with two new teachers hired to the district, as part of her belief that the district has proven irresponsible with its money.

“Classrooms with 14 students make me question if the administration remembered their financial responsibility to the taxpayers,” Reis said. “Giving district administration a raise isn’t warranted with the many increased expenses with the new building coming up.”

Skaluba noted that the board has worked hard to reduce reliance on the district’s fund balance under challenging circumstances facing all districts.

“Going into this budget year cycle, we are projected to use the least amount of fund balance that we have in three or four years,” he said.

The board also defended Skaluba’s evaluation and salary increase, stating that the superintendent has gone beyond what is expected of him.

“For those who have actually looked at the academic side of it and realized what you do for the kids, it’s appreciated,” said Robert Titman, a board member.

Amy Ruth-Swart, also a parent with a child in the district, spoke about a recent Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act violation that Skaluba acknowledged will be taken care of. The federal law, also known as FERPA, protects the privacy of student education records.

The superintendent did not discuss the violation during the meeting, though he did say the issue was “confidential.”

Ruth-Swart said she felt that Skaluba’s acknowledgment of the violation put the blame on other members of

the district and that he should be held accountable for such mistakes and not be given a raise.

“We wanted more transparency that action had been taken. We wanted him to take responsibility and say it is my district and I am accountable,” Swart said. “The principal said there was no excuse and when you meet with him, he is constantly deflecting.”

At the end of the meeting, Skaluba replied to Swart’s comments, saying that he felt that he had apologized for the violation in correspondence with her and that the nature of the problem was one that needed confidentiality.

During the meeting, Skaluba also touched on the mold and mildew response in the district’s buildings. Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Jerry Knier explained to parents at the meeting that while there had been slight examples of mildew found in three locations in the district’s buildings, the correct channels are being used to check that everything is clean.

“We will bring someone in to double check. Our buildings and grounds crew is phenomenal in terms of their attention and response to this,” Skaluba said. “In terms of response to concerns and preventive maintenance they take it extremely seriously.”