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BROWNSVILLE – Brownsville Area School District Board of Directors voted Wednesday at its monthly meeting to extend contracts for Superintendent Dr. Keith Hartbauer and Business Manager William Boucher.

Hartbauer’s five-year contract extension is effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2025, with a starting salary of $132,000, pending finalization of the contract and solicitor’s review. Boucher’s agreement is effective Sept. 1, 2019, through June 30, 2022, with a starting salary of $95,000.

Directors R.W. Brashear and Andy Assad were absent from the meeting.

Director Andy Dorsey, the only board member present who voted against the contract extensions, asked why Hartbauer’s contract was extended a year before it was due to expire.

Director John Harvey replied, “If we don’t extend his contract now, we run the risk that he might seek other opportunities.”

When Dorsey asked if Boucher was evaluated, Hartbauer said he did complete a comprehensive evaluation. Director Gary Seelye thanked Boucher for his work, noting, “He brought our district out of the red and helped us to build up a strong fund balance again.”

Hartbauer thanked the board for extending his contract and for backing his vision for the district.

“It’s humbling to know that the board is on the same page with me, as we work together to provide our students with the best possible education,” he said.

Earlier, Dorsey asked why motions to extend contacts for Hartbauer and Boucher did not appear on the agenda for the work session meeting last Monday.

“I’m concerned that the board members did not have ample time to review these contracts,” said Dorsey. “Are we voting blindly on these two contracts?”

Solicitor Jeremy Davis said, to his understanding, the board decided to add motions for the contract extension after it held an executive session on Monday. Dorsey was not present for that meeting.

Also during the meeting, Hartbauer said the district will be partnering this year with the Fayette County PROSPER Team and the Rural Arts Collaborative to bring a variety of programs to Brownsville’s students. In addition, the district will be incorporating a STEAM program, starting with the fourth and fifth grades.

Dorsey asked Hartbauer why the district is starting school a week earlier this year.

Hartbauer said this change was made based on academic and instructional considerations.

“Our state Keystone exams occur in the middle of May, about three-and-a-half weeks before most of the coursework is done,” said Hartbauer. “We decided to start the school year a week earlier to gain a week of instruction. That way, when the Keystone Assessments are completed, our kids are basically finished with their coursework, except for their final exams. And on a positive note, students will start their summer vacation earlier.”

Hartbauer noted that teachers reported for an in-service day on Friday and the district will start its new school year on Tuesday.

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