G’town picks new principal, inks teacher contract

GERMANTOWN—The Board of Education of the Germantown Central School District scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, May 28. At that meeting, Superintendent Susan L.S. Brown said earlier this week she would recommend Jeanne Porcino Dolamore as the next principal for the Germantown Elementary School.

Ms. Dolamore lives in Kingston, where she is principal of St. Joseph School, which serves children in grades pre-k to 8. She holds degrees in music education with a special education concentration from SUNY Potsdam, a master’s degree in educational computing from Long Island University and a postgraduate degree in school leadership and administration from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She has lived in the Hudson Valley for over 25 years, working as a teacher and administrator, according to the St. Joseph website.

The board’s approval of Ms. Dolamore, which is anticipated, will cap a busy two months. On April 10 Ms. Brown, negotiating for the district, and June Nelson, a sixth-grade teacher who is president of the Germantown Teachers Association, signed a memo of agreement on a new contract for the teachers, the first since 2011. The GTA voted to ratify the agreement, which covers the 2011–15 school years, and the board approved it May 7.

“Everyone worked very hard,” said Ms. Brown, “and we’re all very pleased to have this agreement.”

Ron Moore, vice-president of the board, said he, too, was “very happy that we reached an agreement. It was a long battle.”

“There was never a doubt of the teachers deserving the contract. But it came down to legacy costs”—recurring costs that “compound,” said Mr. Moore, “and must be paid over the course of a contract” even when revenues fluctuate.

The district’s “found” money was a piece in the negotiations, said Mr. Moore, referring to $2.5 million that district had amassed in an unrestricted reserve by the end of last year. The board used $719,117 of that fund to keep a 0% increase in the tax levy for the 2014–15 fiscal year.

But what made the difference, allowing the two sides to finally agree, was the increase in state aid, to $4.6 million for the district, said Mr. Moore. “The state came through with more money than we expected,” a 5.26% increase over the $4.4 million in state aid that the district received for 2013-14.

The hiring that is part of this year’s $13.8 million budget can now begin. The district seeks one teacher each for high school social studies (with English certification), high school art and the elementary school, in addition to a high school guidance counselor and a k-12 library media specialist.

The elementary school teacher is especially important for the pilot pre-k program that the district plans, said Ms. Brown. The new program does not yet have a start date. To develop it, she said, “we’ll use the same process as we did for the Germantown after school program. That includes visits to programs in the area, a survey to district residents, curriculum writing and then preparation of a classroom. That will take a significant amount of time.”

 

 

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