A retired Williamsville Central School District administrator has been hired as interim business administrator by the Depew Union Free School District.
The Depew Board of Education on Tuesday approved the appointment of Richard Hitzges to the post effective today through Feb. 4.
Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey said the district is interviewing candidates for the position, vacated by Theresa Rusin, who is retiring after 20 years. He expects to have a recommendation on a replacement by February.
Hitzges, who will be paid a per diem of $650, is retired assistant superintendent for finance and management with Williamsville. Since retiring from that post at age 60, he was also an interim business administrator for the Kenmore-Tonawanda School District for about a year.
He was mentioned in a July 7 article in The Buffalo News about retired educators collecting full pensions while working full-time jobs.
By state law, retired educators younger than 65 are not supposed to earn more than $30,000 annually from the public sector and still collect a full pension. But if a school district claims it can't find anyone except a retiree to fill a job, it can seek a waiver of that provision from the state Education Department.
Hitzges is now 66, and the hiring period is just six weeks, so no waiver is required.
In other business, the board heard a brief report from Rabey about his recent one-week trip to China with 300 other educators as part of a program through the Confucius Institute of the University at Buffalo. There was no cost to the district for the trip.
Rabey, who said he would present a fuller report at the Jan. 4 board meeting, visited four schools in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province. He said he was impressed with the high achievement level of students, many of whom aspire to get full scholarships to attend universities in the United States.
Heidi Salva, director of instructional services, and Sheri Barsottelli, literacy coach, updated the board on the use of iPads, purchased under a $200,000 grant awarded jointly to the Depew, Pioneer, Alden and Iroquois school districts. About 50 iPads are available for classroom use in grades 6-12.
Students have adapted quickly to the new technology, they said, and are especially eager to create, using an app called iBrainstorm.