SEYMOUR – The Education Council hired a business leader, cleared an early retirement incentive program and discussed national food shortages at its meeting on Wednesday, November 3.
The Board of Directors unanimously hired Salvatore A. Bucci as Commercial Director.
“I come here with most of my career behind me with a lot of aspirations for what I can bring to the children and to the growth of the school district,” Mr. Bucci said. “I can not wait to be there.”
The board authorized an early retirement incentive program for eligible teachers and administrators in accordance with the collective agreement.
“I went back and did the history of what some of the old superintendents had done, and I think that’s right,” said Superintendent Susan Compton, Ed.D ..
Member Fred Stanek said he had voted against early retirement plans in the past.
Mr Stanek said he believed that if the school offered an incentive for early retirement, it should encourage young teachers with 25 to 30 years of service to retire.
“It might not be part of the next contract, but I’m going to vote yes tonight so I’m going on a high note,” he joked.
President Ed Strumello said he also had concerns.
“I thought we sometimes encourage teachers to leave,” Strumello said. “This is my concern.”
Member Kristen Bruno said she would vote yes, acknowledging it is a requirement.
“I think we’ve been through this over the last couple of years that we need all the good educators out there.
“I hope that no one will take advantage of it, because the need is certainly there for the quality staff that we have in the district,” Ms. Bruno said.
The motion was carried unanimously.
Foodservice Director Cindy Brooks spoke about the foodservice and commodity shortages facing the country.
“We’re running out of everything every week from pizza and chicken products to milk, lactose-free milk, paper products and the utensils that students eat,” Ms. Brooks said. “The list is lengthened increasingly.”
Ms. Brooks also noted the cost increases for some items, such as the five-compartment trays.
Before Covid-19, trays would have cost around $ 16 for a pack of 500. At the start of the year, trays cost $ 34 for a pack of 240.
She said that on the day of the meeting, she was able to order 100 cases of 500 trays for $ 95.
“My budget is separate,” she noted, adding that she hoped the sets would allow her to get through November.
Throughout it all, she said her staff did a great job. She said staff served 38,251 meals in September. In October, staff served 40,723 meals.
Ms Brooks also thanked the wardens, who stepped in to serve the lunches and offered their support to the short-staffed food service staff.
“I don’t think it’s over anytime soon, but we’re doing our best,” she said.
The board thanked the staff for their efforts.
Mr Strumello recognized the new iteration of the Board of Education after the municipal elections on Tuesday, November 2.
Mr. Strumello congratulated Ms. Bruno and member Christopher Champagne on their re-election.
He also welcomed the new board members, Shannon Levey and Stephan Behuniak, who will be sworn in, along with the re-elected, in December.
In other news, the council issued various recognitions and proclamations to students and council members.
The Board of Trustees recognized Katherine Bruno and Mikayla Zedek as successful students of the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The board also recognized students who entered the Naugatuck Valley Health Department’s National Readiness Month art competition.
Bungay Primary School students Simao Parada, Eli Stein and Ariyanna Johnson received first, second and third prizes respectively.
Emily Zhu, senior from Seymour High School, won the high school division.
The board issued proclamations recognizing the outstanding service to board members Peter Kubik and Mr. Stanek.
First woman chosen Annmarie Drugonis and Bungay Primary School Principal Mary Sue Feige spoke during the public comments honoring Mr. Kubik and Mr. Stanek.
“Thank you for your many years of service to Seymour and education,” said Ms. Feige, specifically thanking Mr. Kubik for his service on each construction committee.
“[Mr. Kubik] was an important part of Bungay’s latest renovation, ”Ms. Feige said.
She thanked Mr. Stanek for his 32 years of service on the Board of Education.
“You are perhaps the longest-serving board member,” she said. “But you are by far one of the best members of the Education Council. “