Keep eye on new approach

The Fonda-Fultonville Central School District Board of Education has decided to take a different approach to hiring a new superintendent. The board is poised to promote one of its two district principals, either high school Principal David Halloran or elementary school Principal Thomas Ciaccio, to the position of associate superintendent, with the possibility of becoming superintendent. The board wants to keep its interim Superintendent Raymond Colucciello for a while longer and mentor the new superintendent under his guidance.

In an interview with The Leader-Herald on Monday, Colucciello explained whichever principal is chosen, he will continue in his duties as principal and his salary will not increase, but his title will change and he will begin to be involved in the duties of district superintendent. The board will be under no obligation to promote this associate superintendent to full superintendent. Although this might appear to be yet another delay in the process of hiring a new superintendent for Fonda-Fultonville, when considered in the context of recent issues at the Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville Central School District, it could prove a prudent move. OESJ hired a new superintendent and then forced her out after only a year, without any explanation, forcing district taxpayers to pay for the remainder of her contract.

Fonda-Fultonville’s method may prove to be awkward for Halloran and Ciaccio, who will be forced to work with each other both knowing the superintendent job may still be up for grabs, but it will give the school board more time to evaluate whoever they choose to promote to associate superintendent. Keeping Colucciello as the interim, even at a salary of $137,000 a year, roughly $500 a day, is still significantly less expensive than hiring a new superintendent because the district doesn’t provide Colucciello with health insurance, and it doesn’t have to pay any pension costs for him. He’s already “retired” from a long career as a superintendent for Capital Region school districts. This approach should be watched closely, because it could prove to be an effective alternative for districts weary of the risk of hiring new, untried superintendents.