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LAKE GEORGE — After a recent lawsuit and vocal angst from the community at a meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Education appointed Jeffery Ziegler as the interim director of curriculum, a new position, for one year.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the board voted to extend Superintendent Lynne Rutnik’s contract, 1 1/2 years in, for another two years.

The hiring of Ziegler, a retired Fort Edward school superintendent who later served as interim curriculum director for Schuylerville, capped a six-month process on restructuring the district’s administration.

The district announced its plans to restructure on Jan. 26. In March, the board voted to eliminate the vice principal position held by Cody Conley.

School representatives decided to shift the vice principal job to an interim director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and student support services to align the school’s education.

Those opposing the change believe the cut of the vice principal position harms a vital need to the students.

Patricia Dow, who is a part of the group called Lake George United for Education that is suing the district to halt the change, asked the board to table the decision.

“There are several reasons this position should not be filled at this time, but none more important than it comes with reduction of student support services that is unthinkable at present time,” she said Tuesday.

Dow commented about the interviewing process.

Board President Tim Collins corrected some comments, saying three people applied for the job and one dropped out.

The school reported that the second candidate was not interviewed as he opted out hours before his scheduled interview because he took another job.

Board member Marc Mularz disagreed with specific information being shared from the interview committee, arguing the ethics.

One member of the public admitted he was on the committee and believed he was right to share the information as long as it was not personal details. He added that it was his objective to be a representative to the parents of the district and disburse the information.

Ziegler will get paid $90,000 for the one year, which is a little over $1,000 more than the vice principal position’s salary. However, the district does not need to pay benefits to Ziegler.

Also Tuesday, the Board of Education approved the extension of Rutnik’s contract.

Collins explained that Rutnik wanted a long-term deal on her first contract, but the superintendent had no previous experience in the role. After two successful reviews at the end of 2017 and 2018, Collins and the board agreed to extend her 3.5-year contract by two years, ending on June 30, 2022.

Her pay will increase 2.76 percent in each of those years, and Collins said this deal is a small increase compared to some and it keeps the superintendent in Lake George, as other schools were interested in Rutnik.

Andrew David Kuczkowski is the education reporter. Andrew can be reached at 518-742-3354. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @ByKuczkowski.

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