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Lancaster School Board extends contract for superintendent criticized for dumping Redskins mascot

In May, Lancaster School Superintendent Michael J. Vallely was sweating out a hostile, divisive School Board election that could have quickly eroded his support on the board and sent him looking for a new job.

The pro-Redskins mascot contingent has long criticized Vallely for leading the administration to initiate a controversial mascot change more than a year ago.

In the last several months, some had threatened to oust him from his post if the pro-Redskins board candidates were victorious in their bid to win more board seats on the board, which supported Vallely’s administration 5-2.

But that didn’t happen.

In fact, the pro-administration candidates – Sue Metz and incumbent William Gallagher – scored an overwhelming victory in last month’s school elections, thereby giving Vallely a vote of confidence.

Each year, Lancaster’s board, like many other boards of education, typically extends contracts for its superintendents by another year if it’s satisfied with their performance and want them to stay.

In Vallely’s case, the reward came in early June. The divided board voted 5-2 – with pro-Redskins board members Brenda Christopher and Kelly H. Depczynski voting “no” to extend Vallely’s contract by another year.

Christopher and Depczynski said they had additional questions about the contract.

Vallely’s contract with the district now spans five years, from June 6 through June 5, 2021, ensuring that by the final year, his base salary will be $213,137. Additionally, the district will pay 85 percent of the premium cost for Vallely’s health insurance coverage for the final year of his contract and allow him to select from any of the health insurance plans offered by the district.

Vallely, whose pay in 2015 was $180,250, became superintendent in July 2013. Previously, he was the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and pupil personnel services.

Board President Patrick Uhteg said the contract extension was deserved and studied at length by the board following two evaluations of Vallely this school year.

“It’s an acknowledgment of a fifth year, and us saying, ‘You’re doing a good job and get a standard increase, but it’s nothing extravagant,’ ” Uhteg said. “We’re retaining a quality superintendent as any smart district would do.”

“The board discussed at length, in executive session, about extending his contract an additional year,” Uhteg said, adding that Christopher and Depczynski had ample opportunity to ask questions and still voted against it.

“The election had two very clear agendas and showed that the community is for this administration and for Dr. Vallely,” Uhteg said. “The election was going to be pivotal for the administration and him, and I read a clear message that the district was happy with the superintendent and not how some people behaved.

“Subsequent to the election results, the sentiment still seems to exist. The mascot controversy should be put in perspective, and we focus on quality education. Enough of the baloney and shenanigans. That’s the year I’m looking forward to.”

Christopher and Depczynski could not be reached to comment.

email: krobinson@buffnews.com