A well-respected Derry-area School District employee said goodbye at Thursday’s regular school board meeting.
District Administrative Assistant for Business Affairs Joe Koluder, who has worked in the Derry area for over 20 years, is retiring at the end of the month.
Over the years he has helped formulate the district’s annual budget, helped save money by jointly purchasing supplies and equipment through the Westmoreland mid-unit, and served as a health care consortium to help districts county schools to cut costs for health plans.
At a previous meeting, Koluder noted that over the past 25 years, the Derry area has increased taxes by a total of 34.4 million, an average increase of 1.38 million during this period. During that same stretch, the average increases among schools in Westmoreland County were 40.16 mills.
“I don’t think you will find someone as passionate and dedicated as you have been in this district over the years,” said board chairman David Krinock of Koluder. “Joe doesn’t just have to balance our books – he’s a bit like a meteorologist who has to predict what’s going to happen with federal and state funding. The amount of money he was able to save in our district is simply enormous. We owe you a debt of gratitude.
Koluder, who received a brief standing ovation from principals, was pleasantly surprised to see his family attend Thursday’s meeting.
“I have enjoyed my stay in Derry and am proud of the work we have done since 1997,” he said.
School board member added Kevin Liberoni, whose time with Koluder dates back to the mid-1990s: “We will miss you.”
In 2018, Koluder won the Gary E. Reeser Memorial Award, the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials’ highest honor, for helping keep the district on a solid financial footing, for mentoring less experienced school business professionals. in the region and for his community service work. .
Prior to coming to Derry Area, Koluder was Business Manager for the Mount Pleasant Area School District from 1985 to 1997. He also briefly worked in the private sector early in his career.
Scott Chappell, the current CFO / Secretary to the Board of Directors and responsible for open cases, will become the Derry Area Business Administrator effective July 1. He previously worked as Director of Business and Secretary to the Board of Directors at the Eastern Westmoreland Career and Technology Center (EWCTC).