The Northville Central School District Board of Education has hired an interim superintendent as it prepares to launch a search for a permanent replacement.
Debra Lynker replaces Kathy Dougherty, who retired Oct. 16, the date of her 58th birthday, after serving 35 years in the field of education and more than five years as Northville superintendent.
Lynker is the former superintendent of the Livingston Manor Central School District in Sullivan County. She retired from that district after 19 years in 2008, having served there as a teacher, principal and lastly as superintendent.
“I love Northville. It is so much fun. The community has been so warm and receptive and it is a wonderful experience,” Lynker said.
She said the board will begin advertising for a new superintendent in January. Patrick Michel, district superintendent for the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services, is handling the search.
Lynker said the board would like to end the search in April and have a new superintendent on board in July. She said the board has yet to establish hiring criteria and a salary range. “The board is looking for a strong leader with great communication skills and someone who is a community person,” she said.
As part of her duties, Lynker will work with the Board of Education to put together the district’s 2013 budget. “It will be a tough budget. Money is tight,” she said.
She would not discuss budget specifics, saying the timing is premature, but did say finances are tight due to the district’s use of its fund balance to balance the current year budget. Northville is looking at a $1 million deficit going into the 2013-14 school year, which begins July 1, Dougherty said earlier.
In May, Northville voters approved the district’s $9.6 million budget by a vote of 304-188. The budget calls for a 0.66 percent spending decrease from the 2011-12 school year. Under the approved budget, the district’s tax levy will increase $129,193, or 2.47 percent, and the district will eliminate junior varsity sports teams, cheerleading and track and field programs.
Northville will still offer modified- and varsity-level play for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, baseball and softball. Northville will also join with the Mayfield Central School District to offer a varsity golf team.
The new superintendent may also have to deal with a second attempt to merge with the Mayfield district. In September, Northville residents rejected a merger proposal, 457-256, while residents of the Mayfield district favored the initiative 529-206. The commissioner of the State Education Department can authorize a second vote in late September if residents present the commissioner with a petition signed by Northville residents.
Northville considered a merger due to increasing financial pressures, which have affected the district’s academic and athletic programming.
The school board on Oct. 15 appointed Lynker through June at a salary of $450 per day.