Schenectady schools Superintendent Ely not selected for Erie, Pa., job

School Superintendent Eric Ely may be sending out some more resumes, as he didn’t get any of the thr

School Superintendent Eric Ely may be sending out some more resumes, as he didn’t get any of the three superintendent positions for which he was in the running.

The Erie, Pa., Board of Education on Wednesday voted 6-3 to give a five-year contract to Jay Badams, currently assistant superintendent. President John Harkins said the board wanted the internal candidate because he was already acquainted with the district.

Harkins said the Steven Raucci scandal wasn’t a factor in the decision not to hire Ely.

He said Ely stated his case well during the interview process.

“I could tell he was a passionate educator and had the credentials behind him. He didn’t mince words and he was desirably forceful, I would say,” Harkins said.

Board member Edward Brzezinski agreed with Harkin’s assessment of Ely and said the board wanted the familiarity of the in-house candidate.

“He’s been in the system so he knows what’s going on. He was an integral part of the new curriculum before he left for a while. He’s younger, he’s in town and we were looking for somebody who would be long-range for us.”

Ely had also been up for jobs in Arlington, Mass., and Billings, Mont. The Arlington School Committee voted on March 23 to eliminate him from contention and the Billings School Board of Trustees did so on Tuesday.

Billings School Trustee Mary Jo Fox said how Ely handled the Raucci situation was of grave concern to her board.

Speaking for herself only, Fox said that Ely chose to be close with somebody who was involved in criminal activity over the safety of his facilities and school staff. “He made the wrong choice. He put people in harm’s way,” she said.

She was particularly concerned about the explosive device found in Raucci’s office at Mont Pleasant Middle School.

Another concern was last year’s Schenectady school budget. After voters rejected a budget with a 4.8 percent tax increase, the Board of Education submitted a revised budget with a 5.8 percent tax increase. Ely had warned voters that if this spending plan were defeated, the district would be forced to adopt a contingency budget with a 15.8 percent tax increase. These figures were based on Ely’s controversial reading of state education law.

“It’s kind of an ends justifies the means approach and I don’t think it shows respect for the voters,” Fox said.

The board gave the job to Keith Beeman, an assistant superintendent from Chino, Calif., because of his expertise in human resources and budgeting, according to Fox.

Ely could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Ely is under contract to the district through June 2012.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply