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Search starts for Clarkston superintendent

June 02, 2010 - Discussions haven't started on how to replace Clarkston schools Superintendent Al Roberts and dozens of other early retirees, but should soon.

"We will be losing many experienced and highly regarded staff and they will be sorely missed," said board Vice President Sue Boatman. "Employees have until June 11 to rescind their retirement application. I would expect employee replacement to be a discussion item at the June 14 board meeting."

Roberts' retirement is a tremendous loss for the district, said board President Steve Hyer.

"While no one is irreplaceable, Superintendent Roberts worked tirelessly in his tenure in Clarkston to 'raise the bar,'" Hyer said. "I wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Clarkston Board of Education approved an Early Retirement, Severance Incentive Plan, May 26. With $40,000 incentives for teachers and administrators, and $5,000 or $10,000 for support personnel, two administrators, 26 teachers, and 36 support staff signed up for early retirement.

Total estimated savings from the retirement plan equals $2,136,243 over two years, said Linda Nester, director of Human Resources.

Clarkston High School Principal Vince Licata, the second administrator on the list, wasn't planning to retire when this school year started.

"I planned for a couple more years, but as the year progressed, with the budget cuts and state incentives, it's something I decided to do," he said.

Licata has been in education for 35 years, including nine years teaching and 26 in administration. He was promoted from assistant principal to principal of Clarkston High in 2007.

"It's been a great tenure," he said. "I have nothing but positive feelings about everything in Clarkston."

Roberts presented three options in regards to his replacement: accept his July 1 departure date, 85-day extension at a third salary, or one-year extension, which would require the district to use one of its exemptions.

The state legislation originally allowed for one exemption per district, to let a retiree remain working for a year and then retire under the current deal, Boatman said.

"Recently, the rules have changed," she said. "Clarkston now has eight exemptions. We do not have to use any of them."

Discussion on selecting a new superintendent should begin soon, McGinnis said.

"There have been many conflicts with board member's personal schedules, vacation and work, that have not allowed this discussion to take place yet," she said. "I'm hoping we will find some time ASAP."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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