August 29, 2014

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Lorain Schools expects interim soon, acceptance of Atkinson’s resignation delayed

Atkinson

Atkinson

LORAIN — An interim Lorain Schools superintendent could be named by week’s end.

Board of Education Chairman Tony Dimacchia said Tuesday that board members will interview candidates this week and are looking for someone outside the district with superintendent experience and the ability to get a 1.5 percent earned income tax school levy passed by voters in November.

Without passage of the tax, which would raise about $8.2 million annually, the school district faces an approximately $11.3 million deficit in the 2012-13 school year.
Dimacchia said the interim superintendent needs the personality and public relations skills to connect with the community.

“Somebody who knows our community and has been part of our community,” he said during a break in a special board meeting. “We’re looking for somebody local.”
After a 55-minute closed-door session, board members delayed acceptance of Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson’s resignation letter. Atkinson didn’t return a Tuesday night call for comment, but Dimacchia said details still need to be worked out in her contract. Atkinson, who earns $230,000 annually, will receive $275,000 annually in Dekalb County in Georgia.

Atkinson — appointed superintendent of DeKalb County Schools on Monday — will assist the interim superintendent during a brief transition before leaving in mid-September, Dimacchia said.

Students in Lorain Schools failed to meet 81 percent of state standards on the latest state report card compared with 80 percent in 2006-07, the school year before Atkinson took over. Dimacchia said there have been “significant gains” academically and in school attendance during Atkinson’s tenure. The goal is to continue those gains under the interim superintendent.

“It’s not going to be somebody just to sit in a seat and babysit our school district,” he said. “It’s somebody that’s going to have to continue the work we’ve been doing.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.