Schalmont appoints new superintendent
ROTTERDAM Carol Pallas has had a whirlwind career taking her through Rome, Mexico and Greece.
Pallas has worked in education for 25 years in all of those New York state communities with international names and will soon be in a fourth: Rotterdam.
The Schalmont Board of Education on Tuesday officially appointed her as the next superintendent. She will start in January and earn a starting salary of $157,500, pro-rated in the first year of a three-year contract.
Pallas was selected from among 34 initial applicants because of her administrative experience, especially in developing curriculum and implementing a teacher evaluation system.
She is currently chief academic officer for the Greece Central School District, a 14,000-student district near Rochester. During her 12 years in Greece, she has held a variety of assistant superintendent positions, in charge of curriculum, professional development, personnel and K-12 schools.
Before becoming an administrator, she was an elementary principal for three years. She also held a principal job in Mexico and a teaching job in Rome.
Pallas, who is replacing the retiring Valerie Kelsey, said she is grateful for the opportunity.
“I am equally honored and excited and looking forward to getting to know everyone and for them to get to know me”
Board member Kevin Thompson said he is sorry to see Kelsey leave, but believes the board found a good replacement in Pallas.
“I’m sure Dr. Pallas will make her mark on the district and have a lot to contribute,” he said.
Board members also had good things to stay about Kelsey, who is on the job until the end of December, saying she upgraded facilities and academic programs while maintaining fiscal discipline.
Kelsey presented Pallas with a gift of a green Schalmont sweatshirt. Ironically, the Schalmont girls soccer team is scheduled to play Greece-Odyssey Academy in the state semifinals this weekend at Cortland High School.
“We know who you’re rooting for on Saturday,” Kelsey quipped.
In other business, the board voted to refinance bonds and pay down $3.5 million in debt.
Last June, the district settled a decades-long tax dispute with General Electric over its property tax assessment. As part of the settlement, the company’s assessment was lowered by $6.5 million to $132 million. Schalmont repaid $721,635 in property taxes collected from 2007 to 2011.
However, the settlement is less than what the district believed it would have to pay, so school officials feel comfortable tapping the money from its tax reserve fund, which will still leave it with about $3 million.
The district has been paying back $6.15 million it borrowed in 2002 to refund GE’s taxes from a previous assessment challenge.