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DeCarli now in running for school chief

Akron Superintendent Ronald G. DeCarli is one of the leading candidates to become the next superintendent of the Frontier School District in Hamburg.

The Frontier School Board was unable in November to reach a consensus on the two finalists it had pared its pool to. DeCarli was recruited to become a third candidate after the board told search consultant Vincent J. Coppola it wanted more candidates to consider.

For seven years, DeCarli, 62, has led the Akron School District, which is about a third the size of Frontier, with 1,700 students. Before that, he was superintendent in Hinsdale, a small Southern Tier district, for more than three years.

DeCarli confirmed in a recent phone interview that he had applied.

"Obviously, it's a district I am interested in," he said. "I think it's a district that has a lot of things happening."

Frontier School Board President Gerald Baldelli acknowledged after Tuesday's board meeting that DeCarli had been interviewed but would not elaborate.

"The board hasn't directed me to give any information out," he said.

However, he did say that the two finalists remain in the running. The board was to discuss the superintendent search in executive session after Tuesday's public meeting.

After having two superintendents in less than two years, Frontier board members have said they are hoping to find someone who will stay in the district for several years.

Robert S. Guiffreda quit in July to become superintendent of Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services. Retired Superintendent David Kurzawa has been serving as interim superintendent since August.

Frontier advertised the superintendent post with a salary range of $145,000 to $165,000, Baldelli said.

In Akron, DeCarli currently is one of the area's most highly compensated superintendents, with a base salary of about $150,000 and a benefit package that puts his total compensation, not including health insurance, at about $190,000.

The Frontier School Board on Tuesday voted, 6-1, to leave empty until the May election the board seat vacated in December by attorney Michael Menard. The board had the option of appointing someone to the seat; holding a special election; asking Erie 1 BOCES Superintendent Donald A. Ogilvie to appoint someone; or leaving it vacant.

Board member Stanley Figiel said the cost of a special election was prohibitive.

In the past few weeks, Baldelli said, two residents have formally expressed interest in Menard's seat: Martin Lalka, who ran unsuccessfully last year for a seat on the board, and Jack Chiappone, a former Lake Shore School Board member who now lives in the Frontier School District.

e-mail: mpasciak@buffnews.com

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