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Administrators set record straight on finances

August 14, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

A report released last week gave some big numbers in the retirement of Vince Colaluca and the hiring of David Cappuzzelli. There were inaccuracies in that report and Austintown Schools Fiscal Officer Blaise Karlovic and Cappuzzelli met with the Town Crier last week to set the record straight.

Karlovic said in May, former superintendent Vince Colaluca entered into a retirement agreement with the Austintown Board of Education. The 2018-19 school year was actually year two of his three-year contract with the Board.

"The belief was he received $122,000," said Karlovic. "That was actually his salary for the entire 2018-19 school year. What he received was $23,688.71 which was the balance still owed from that amount."

He did get a severance package of $12,500 paid into an annuity, then he received the balance year of his contract, which amounted to $124,539. The final year's salary will be paid out in four payments during the coming school year. Both these payments were in accordance with Ohio law and was a move the Board of Education wanted to make to move the district forward under the leadership of the new superintendent.

As for the hiring of Cappuzzelli, the board more than covered his wages by cost reductions. Karlovic said the board did not replace the assistant superintendent or the curriculum director, two positions that cost the district $266,370.64. That amount far exceeded Cappuzzello's salary, making it a sound move.

"Right now, Austintown is stable," Karlovic said. "The five-year forecast is stable and looks good for the next couple of years. What we do have is enrollment issues."

He said even with the declining enrollment, the district is presently at 100 percent of its staff returning to a position or finding other work. Karlovic said said no one is without a job.

Our philosophy is always about reducing costs and taking a proactive measure," he said. "Cost-cutting is reactive and is bad for the kids and people. We would like to keep everyone working, but the bottom line is this place has to run efficiently."

As for Cappuzzello's outlook for the start of the 2019-2020 school year, he is excited to be part of the Falcon family. Cappuzzello is a 1984 Chaney graduate who knows all about the Austintown School District.

"I have such an affection for Austintown," he said. "After six years in Girard, it feels like coming home."



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