Retired superintendents filling in

Two area retired superintendents are now serving in temporary capacities at other districts.

Paul Gallagher, who retired as Hollidaysburg Area School District’s superintendent earlier this month, has taken on the task of temporarily heading up the Purchase Line School District in Indiana County.

Rodney Green, who retired a year ago as Spring Cove School District superintendent, has been serving in a similar capacity at Northern Cambria, where Superintendent John Jubas is on sick leave.

Purchase Line sought and hired Gallagher to fill in until a full-time superintendent is hired. He’s been on the job three weeks.

Retired superintendents taking temporary, part-time jobs at the helm of school districts is not unusual, said attorney Dave Andrews. His law firm, Andrews & Beard in Altoona, serves as solicitor for a number of area school districts, including Hollidaysburg, Purchase Line, Spring Cove and Northern Cambria.

“I’m sure Purchase Line is thankful for his help in their time of need,” Andrews said Tuesday.

Gallagher’s daily rate at Purchase Line is $475, according to the Indiana Gazette.

“This is a part-time thing until they find a full-time superintendent. If I wanted to stay a superintendent, I would have stayed at Hollidaysburg, but I am helping them out [Purchase Line],” Gallagher said. He commutes an hour from Hollidaysburg to Purchase Line.

“I retired for the reasons I said I wanted to retire. Purchase Line knows it, too,” he said, pointing to the fact that he is on vacation with his wife and his grandchildren.

When he returns to his temporary post at Purchase Line Aug. 5, he said he will be helping with the district’s superintendent search to replace former superintendent Tina Hazelet, who retired from the district.

Green, on the job since May, said Northern Cambria is paying him $450 per day; he works three days per week.

The state Department of Education permits a person with superintendent certification to work for up to 12 months and still be considered retired, Green said.

“What typically happens is when they [superintendents] retire, because they are familiar with district solicitors, they say ‘If something comes up and a district needs temporary help, I would be interested,”’ Green said. “That’s what I did.”

Evelyn Tatkovski, spokeswoman for the state’s Public School Employees’ Retirement System, said districts must document efforts to hire nonretired personnel prior to seeking approval from PSERS to hire a retiree.

She said hiring a retiree can cause complaints to PSERS because retirees continue to receive their pension as well as being compensated by districts where they temporarily serve.

“That’s the way the retirement code is,” Tatkovski said. “It allows the exception for emergencies.”

Although compensation for temporary work is received in addition to pension benefits, it does not boost pension benefits for the employee and is not factored into financial contributions the school district must pay into the state’s pension system.

In a normal school employment situation, the district, the employee and the state make financial contributions to PSERS to support the employee’s pension.

Green said Jubas could return by the end of August.

Green has led Northern Cambria through adopting a budget and making several hires, including district business manager. He is now preparing the district for the beginning of the school year.

Sometimes the duties of a temporary superintendent are simple. Some paperwork, for example, must be signed by a person with superintendent certification to continue day-to-day business of a district, Andrews said.

“Retiree superintendents are a natural fit [for districts needing temporary help],” Andrews said. “These jobs are on a part-time basis until they find their successor.”