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Niagara Wheatfield picks Alden superintendent to lead district

SANBORN – The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District hired a new superintendent last week, ending a search that had lasted more than a year. The announcement at Wednesday’s meeting was greeted by applause.

Lynn Fusco, who is currently superintendent of the Alden Central School District, was approved unanimously by the School Board to take over the top administrative post on a four-year contract. She replaces Carl Militello, who resigned in February 2012 after a long contract dispute with the board.

Board president Steve Sabo said Fusco was selected for the job from a field of 27 candidates and that he personally was “floored with the quality of her answers and her professionalism” during the interviews. He cited her leadership capabilities, character and experience as the qualities that made the difference in the selection process.

Fusco said she has been with Alden for seven years and also served the East Aurora Union Free School District as director of curriculum instruction and personnel.

Sabo said she will be paid $163,000 a year with built-in yearly raises in her contract. If she moves from Hamburg into the district during the first year, the district will pay her moving expenses. Her appointment here is effective July 1.

When Militello left, Niagara Wheatfield appointed school business executive Kerin Dumphrey as temporary superintendent and later James Knowles as interim superintendent.

Fusco said she “can’t wait to work with the board and community” and predicted “good things to come.”

Fusco will have to address the ramifications of the May 21 budget vote, which in some form will have to address the funding shortage.

The $63,759,714 budget is expected to be short $1,006,614 in revenue. As the board has already voted to keep the tax rate hike no larger than the adjusted state tax levy limit of 5.91 percent, the difference would have to come from programs, personnel or a combination of both.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 8.