EF school board accepts superintendent’s resignation


  By ERIC SLAGLE Daily News Staff Writer

  Elizabeth Forward School District Superintendent Michael Latusek is retiring. His resignation was approved at a special school board meeting Wednesday. Latusek, who was hired by the district in late 2005 at an annual rate of $115,000, will leave the position June 30, which is one year before his contract was due to expire. Latusek was not at the meeting. No one from the district could immediately provide his current salary. School board President Phil Martell said Latusek’s resignation “was no buyout.” The school district chief will only receive a salary through June. Latusek came to Elizabeth Forward from Bethel Park School District, where he was assistant superintendent. He replaced Paul Mueller, who was EF’s superintendent for eight years. School officials said Latusek has 38 years of service in education and is taking advantage of a retirement package like the ones offered to teachers. “We’re going to convene a search immediately,” said Martell, adding the district would conduct its search itself, rather than hiring an outside firm to provide the service. As to how much the district is looking to pay its next chief, Martell said, “It’s too early to tell.” The district already is looking to replace its assistant superintendent Dr. Beverly A. Hall, who took a job with Peters Township School



District earlier this school year. Martell said the board hopes to have both positions filled by June.
  In other news, former school board member Linda Bennett spoke up during a workshop meeting that followed the special meeting to urge current board members to consider small but gradual tax increases to erase budget deficits in the district. Last year, the board approved a budget with a fund balance deficit of $180,470, according to district Finance Director Richard Fantauzzi. The shortfall on the $32,862,129 budget came despite the district raising taxes by 1.3 mills. The board is looking at adopting a resolution next week that will permit the district to raise taxes an additional 1.31 mills on its 2009-10 budget, if need be. School officials say the resolution is a requirement of Act 1 and not an indicator that another tax hike is in the works. Bennett said the district needs to raise taxes to bring its fund balance up to 5 percent
 of its total budget, as recommended by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association. In addition, she said the district will have to cut programs if it refuses to increase its tax rate. Finally, Director of Technology Mary Beth Wiseman presented an online meeting management program to the board known as BoardDocs. The computer-based system would allow school officials and the public to access school board documents and files via the Internet, though some documents could be kept private. Wiseman said the system would give the public greater access to the district and save paper. Pine Richland School District and many districts in Maryland already are using the system. The cost of BoardDocs would be $9,000 per year. The board plans to have Fantauzzi do a cost benefit analysis of the system.