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Newsmaker of the month: There’s no welcome mat for next superintendent

Renee Garrett

We knew Renee Garrett, at right, would land on her feet. The former Forestville Central School superintendent resigned earlier this month shortly after a new school board was seated.

One of those newly elected, Lindsey Ellis, led a petition drive seeking Garrett’s resignation in the past year. Once Ellis officially came on to the board, Garrett wasted little time in stepping down and then taking a position with the Jamestown City School District as the new human resources director.

Ellis has been vocal in the past regarding the former superintendent’s salary, which was last noted at $140,000 annually, while other staffers are struggling to make ends meet. “Her pay has gone up every year, while the cafeteria workers make less than people who work at McDonald’s,” Ellis said previously. “Which is why they keep leaving, and kind of what started this. Multiple employees, teaching staff and kitchen staff have been fleeing in droves from the district.”

To be fair, finding employees and staff is a problem in many districts — as well as the public sector — during this national worker shortage. And while some in Forestville may be celebrating Garrett’s departure, the board faces a daunting task: finding a replacement.

Knowing the terms in which Garrett left is no welcome sign for any future job applicant. If any current board members thought Garrett was being overpaid, wait until they find out how much it will cost to replace her. Besides doing a search committee with the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, there will be expenses during the job interviews.

Forestville has been one of the strongest community school districts in our region. Right now, however, there appears to be a great deal of dissatisfaction.

It will not get better until the district with an enrollment of some 500 students finds someone to lead. If the issue is the high cost for a superintendent, this board will need an education. What Garrett was earning was below the going rate for superintendents.

Realistically, Forestville will likely end up paying more for this position once they decide on a new chief.

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