The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 21, 2013

Bula board hires Riley as assistant

Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —  The Ashtabula Area City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to hire an assistant superintendent/supervisor of special education Wednesday night.

Lori Riley, the supervisor of special education, will start her new duties March 11 as assistant to newly appointed Superintendent Patrick Colucci. Her contract runs through July 2015.

“We won’t be replacing her (in the special education position); her title will be assistant superintendent/supervisor of special education,” Colucci said. “It’s a cost-saving measure.”

The school board hired Colucci only two weeks ago with a starting salary of $98,000. Colucci was serving as acting superintendent following former superintendent Joseph Donatone’s retirement in January. Colucci was Donatone’s assistant superintendent.

Riley will be paid $90,241, about $4,000 more than what she’s taking home in her current position — $85,924 a year, according to the treasurer’s office.

School board member Alfred DeCato said Riley is a great choice for the job.

“She’s an extremely smart girl,” he said. “She has a lot of experience and she’s done a great job for us in special education.”

School board member Steve Candela said he also likes Riley, but in Colucci’s $1 million cost-cutting plan, proposed at the Dec. 19 school board meeting, Colucci planned to eliminate the assistant superintendent’s job until the end of this school year.

Wednesday night, Candela made a motion to pull Riley’s hiring from the “personnel” section of the agenda so the board could talk about it.

“But I couldn’t get (someone to second my motion),” he said. “When I couldn’t get a second, I voted ‘yes’ because I didn’t want to vote ‘no’ to everyone’s hiring.”

He also noted that it wasn’t anything personal against Riley, it was the additional money he opposed.

Colucci said that in December he wasn’t sure if the board was going to replace the assistant superintendent’s job. Now that he is the superintendent, he believes hiring Riley will get both jobs done while spending only $4,317 more a year.

Colucci, an Ashtabula native and 1982 graduate of Harbor High School, has been with the district for 22 years serving in many capacities and received unanimous support from the board for his hiring.

In other business, Bradley Panak was hired as assistant treasurer, March 11 through July 31, 2015, and Joseph Allen resigned from his job as transportation supervisor, effective June 4.