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LHK considers hiring a part-time principal

FALLS VILLAGE — The Board of Finance got a first look at the proposed spending plan from the Board of Education during the regular monthly meeting Monday, March 12.The school board submitted two proposals, with the major difference being the role of the principal at Lee H. Kellogg School.Principal Maria Bulson is retiring Dec. 31. One proposal replaces the current full-time position with a part-time position beginning in July. The other keeps Bulson in place full-time until she retires, and a part-time replacement finishing out the school year.School board Chairman Ross Grannan indicated he was leaning toward the second option, which he said would preclude paying Bulson any unemployment compensation.And Bulson herself said the second plan would give the school board time to conduct a search for a new principal and to “see what a [part-time] principal looks like.”During public comments at the end of the meeting, former school board Chairman Andrea Downs said that finding a part-time principal from the Kellogg faculty might not be easy, depending on the certifications the teachers hold, and suggested the school board take another look at keeping the position full-time.Both spending plans call for eliminating a kindergarten teacher, for a net savings of about $15,000 after unemployment compensation.Jeff Tripp, who said he has a child nearing kindergarten age, didn’t like the idea. Grannan and Bulson had earlier mentioned that in the next five years, education costs are likely to be eased by a smaller tuition bill from Housatonic Valley Regional High School and retirement of veteran teachers.Tripp, noting this, said, “We spent a lot of time and money on this [the kindergarten]. It seems shortsighted for a savings of $15,000.”And Downs said that previous boards had spent a lot of time setting up a full-time kindergarten and suggested that the current board reconsider that, too.The bottom lines of the two spending plans, including the town’s share of the Region One school district’s costs, are $3,124,218 (an increase of $49,619, or 1.6 percent); and $3,132,994 (an increase of $58,395, or 1.9 percent).The Board of Finance, at Lou Timolat’s suggestion, agreed to consider the two plans and meet again, in a special meeting, Wednesday, March 14, to gather their thoughts.The school board is holding a budget workshop meeting Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m. in the Kellogg library.

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