Students in two of the Wyoming Area School District’s elementary schools will start the 2015-16 year with a new principal.
Former Nanticoke Area High School Principal and Jenkins Township resident Joseph Long will take over for the retiring Bob Kaluzavich as principal of the Montgomery Avenue and Sarah J. Dymond elementary schools.
Long was selected from 12 candidates who interviewed for the position and his appointment was approved with six board members voting in favor, three abstaining and no opposition.
Board member Carl Yorina spoke directly to Long, who was in attendance, in pointing out his abstention was not an expression of dissatisfaction with Long as a principal, but rather Yorina’s own misgivings about the hiring process.
Yorina’s colleague Carmen Bolin made similar comments regarding his abstention after the meeting, but neither he nor Yorina would offer specific details as to the context of their criticisms.
Board member Mary Louise Degnan explained she abstained due to a relationship with Long’s wife.
The board also voted unanimously to table a memorandum of agreement with the Northeast Land Bank, a Greater Pittston area organization seeking to return blighted properties to tax rolls in exchange for temporary tax relief.
Under the proposed arrangement, the district would forgive back taxes on West Pittston properties acquired by the land bank and refrain from charging taxes on them while they are owned by the land bank. The district and the land bank would then share tax proceeds for five years once the property is sold to a developer.
Wyoming Area’s agreement also has a stipulation that shared proceeds from properties sold within district communities can only be reinvested in those communities.
The Pittston Area School District already has an agreement in place with the land bank.
Board member Gerald Stofko proposed tabling the agreement in order to review details with greater scrutiny. Yorina and Degnan echoed Stofko’s concerns but none of the members responded when the land bank’s director, Joseph Chacke, pointed out that 100-page informational packets were distributed to board members in May of this year.
Also on Tuesday, the public was reminded of upcoming dates to kick off the 2015 school year.
Teachers report to work on Monday, Aug. 31, while the district’s 2,375 students begin Wednesday, Sept. 2.
The district also has Get Acquainted/Parents’ Nights scheduled for 7 p.m. on the following nights:
• Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the John F. Kennedy and Sarah J. Dymond elementary schools.
• Thursday, Sept. 17 at the Tenth Street and Montgomery Avenue elementary schools.
• Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center.
The Wyoming Area School Board will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.