A medical leave for Superintendent Dr. Carol Cary was among the district and director changes recently approved by the Marple Newtown School Board.
Cary’s leave, which began Nov. 6, will extend through Feb. 4. Business Administrator Joe Driscoll was appointed to serve as substitute superintendent.
“The board felt it was important to have a clearly designated point of contact responsible for overseeing all departments to ensure the district continues to operate effectively and efficiently during Dr. Cary’s temporary absence,” said board President Kathy Chandless. “Because the business administrator already reports directly to the board under the district’s organizational chart, Mr. Driscoll is the logical choice to assume this role.”
The directors accepted the resignation of Marple Newtown High School Principal Dr. Greg Puckett, who has been appointed assistant superintendent of the Chichester School District.
His resignation will be effective Dec. 31 and former high school Principal Stan Piecara will assume his duties while the district conducts a search for his replacement. Piecara also served as interim principal in 2013.
The board bade farewell to one of its members, accepting the resignation of Stavroula Kotrotsios. She was elected in Nov. 2015. Following interviews of several prospective candidates, directors voted to appoint John McKenzie to the seat.
With personnel issues approved, the board turned its attention to the demographic study completed by Sundell Associates of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Recent and anticipated development, especially in Newtown, resulted in the need to predict future increases in enrollment.
The report, examining school years 2017-2018 to 2021-2022, considered the impact of the nine multi-family projects totaling 923 units which have been approved for construction within the district and the additional 418 units near approval. Only 30 of the former are age-restricted.
While the new homes would increase enrollment in the four elementary schools, the most significant impact would be seen at Culbertson, the only K-5 building in Newtown. The approved units are expected to generate 325 school-age enrollments, 260 of whom would attend public school. An additional 68 public school children would reside in the yet-to-be-approved units. As a result, the study predicts Culbertson would see an increase of 136 children, raising the student population to 492 and exceeding the school capacity of 408.
In anticipation of the demographic study, the board voted earlier this year to engage Bonnett Associates, the architectural firm which designed the high school renovation, to evaluate, provide preliminary assessments and identify concepts for potential renovation and expansion of the middle school and elementary schools in conjunction with the report.