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Trustees of the Orleans-Niagara Board of Cooperative Educational Services will meet at 9 a.m. todayo discuss filling the superintendent's post after learning that Peter T. Kachris will be leaving.

BOCES Board Member Robert A. DiMatties said Thursday that the board will meet in the BOCES building on Saunders Settlement Road to discuss the search process for a replacement.

"We have gotten material, and we will be just talking," DiMatties said.

Kachris has accepted a position as superintendent of the Special School District of St. Louis County. His contract there will run through Feb. 28, 2003.

Kachris' job here was to have expired at the end of June, said DiMatties. "We really did not want to lose him." Kachris will begin work in his new job March 6, and he is leaving the local district March 3.

"His experience and leadership will greatly be missed, not only for our area schools . . . but also for Western New York and the State of New York," said DiMatties.

DiMatties would not say whom the board might be looking at to fill Kachris' shoes. He did say that BOCES will be searching nationwide for a replacement.

For the past six years, Kachris had been earning $128,625 a year -- the cap for BOCES superintendent salaries as established by the state Department of Education.

Kachris will make $150,000 annually in his new post, he said.

"Economically, there's no advantage for me to work in the State of New York in that position," Kachris said when contacted at his home.

"If it were not for the salary cap, I would not be interested in leaving this current position."

Kachris, 64, said that his first challenge in his new job will be to convince voters to approve a tax levy increase after paying the same levy since 1984. His job will encompass 23 school districts.

The Orleans-Niagara BOCES services 13 school districts.

He added that 17 percent of the pupils and students in the Special School District are classified as in need of special help. "I think that's awfully high." Kachris said that he hopes to find other ways of meeting the needs of the pupils and students without classifying them.

"Its going to be a challenge. I like challenges. As long as I'm healthy, I want to work," he said.

He added that he has not yet found a home in Missouri, but that he will be renting a place until he does.

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