Thursday, March 20, 2003

Batavia's school chief steps down

He takes a pay cut to assume new communications position

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

BATAVIA - The new director of communications and student services for Batavia Local Schools began his new job this week with a press release announcing his resignation from his previous post.

Superintendent Paul Varney, 57, submitted that resignation as the leader of the district to take the newly created communications position, effective July 31.

"I look forward to continued service in the district in a new and needed capacity," he said, reading from a prepared statement.

The board will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday to discuss the search process for the new superintendent.

Varney, who has served as superintendent for four years in the 1,925-student district, will not only take over communications, but also some student services, including student expulsion hearings, truancy mediation and court appearances.

In taking a two-year contract for the position, he'll also take a pay cut, reducing his salary from $89,900 to $69,022 per year.

But Varney, who is a year and half short of the 35-year retirement benchmark, will have a shorter work year with only 225 days instead of the superintendent's 260.

School Board President Larry Vaughn said the decision to take the new position was entirely Varney's.

The board created the position because it saw the need for better community relations during the bond levy campaign in the fall. The 6.9-mill levy, which would have paid for a new elementary school, failed in November, 1,143 to 913. The board has not put the levy back on the ballot.

"We needed to fill the gap between the community and the district," Vaughn said.

The board also met with teachers and administrators and learned the district needed someone with the time and ability to handle many of the court-related administrative duties of the position as well, he said.

When the position was posted, Varney expressed an interest, Vaughn said.

Varney said he saw the need and looks forward to the new work.

"I think change is good, not only for the district, but also for personnel from time to time," he said.

"It will create a new outlooks, new challenges, and hopefully, it will create new things for the district."

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