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Superintendent search, budget top agenda for Northampton school board meeting

— The search for a new schools chief is on the agenda for the School Committee’s next meeting, set for 7:15 p.m. Thursday at JFK Middle School.

Committee members recently authorized Mayor David J. Narkewicz to appoint a panel and begin outlining a search process to replace Superintendent Brian Salzer, who is resigning in July to take a job as a high school principal in Germany. Salzer has been in the post for less than two years.

The school board had initially planned to hold a special meeting on the superintendent search but will now discuss it at their regular meeting.

In other administrative changes facing the district, R.K. Finn Ryan Road School Principal Margaret Riddle and Northampton High School Principal Nancy Athas recently announced plans to retire at the end of the school year. Leeds School Principal Joseph Smith is resigning at the end of June.

The School Committee is also scheduled to vote Thursday on a budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. The latest draft anticipates a budget shortfall of $775,424 for 2014.

Proposed strategies to fill that gap include cutting around 16 full-time teaching positions (down from an initial 30) and reducing numerous others to part time, some to as little as 0.34 time. The plan also calls for eliminating busing for students in grades 9-12 and raising school lunch fees and athletic fees.

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