BOYERTOWN >> You can add the name of the school district’s longtime chief financial officer to the list of top administrators leaving the Boyertown Area School District this year.
On Friday, Chief Financial Officer David Szablowski, 58, confirmed that he has accepted an offer from the Colonial School District and expects to be confirmed by that school board on Nov. 16.
“I loved being at Boyertown and I had planned on ending my career here,” said Szablowski, who has been with the district for 15 years.
However, he said, he is leaving both because of the raise he will receive at his new post, and because “the situation in the (school) board room has changed in the last two to four years. It’s been very different, very combative and I get the sense that we’re not all there for the same reason — which is to improve education for the students.”
He said he was proud of the job the board and administration undertook on building renovations at the high school and Junior High West.
“We executed that plan almost perfectly. It was on schedule and under budget and it is not a Taj Mahal,” Szablowski said.
But “if things don’t change, depending on how this election turns out, I’m not sure the district is going to get a whole lot accomplished going forward,” he said.
“Six months ago, I had planned to complete my career here in Boyertown, but the tone in the board room started to take its toll and I had to do what’s best for me,” Szablowski said.
In the last year, there has been a lot of change in the top offices of the Boyertown Area School District.
In March, the Fleetwood School District hired Greg Miller as its new superintendent. Miller spent 11 years at Boyertown, six as an elementary principal. He had been Boyertown’s chief student achievement officer for five years when he left.
In June, former Superintendent Richard Faidley left his $186,661-a-year post, and the three years remaining on his contract, to take the superintendent’s post in the Wilson School District in western Berks County.
In August, former Pottstown and Wyomissing schools superintendent David Krem was appointed Boyertown’s acting superintendent until July.
In the last month, the district has been holding community focus groups to get input on hiring a new superintendent.
In September, the Wyomissing School District hired assistant superintendent Robert Scoboria away from Boyertown to be its new superintendent.
He has been replaced, temporarily, by Marybeth Torchia, who has been named acting assistant superintendent of operations.
And two weeks ago, before Szablowski’s departure was announced, assistant finance officer Stephanie Hackash went back to work for the Reading School District, said Krem.
Krem said he has not been in his post long enough to offer up an explanation for the exodus, but he offered high praise for Szablowski.
“Dave is a great guy, as good as they get. He was always very professional and very welcoming when I came on. I had complete trust in his judgement,” said Krem.
Attempts to reach school board President John Landino for comment were unsuccessful.
School board Vice President Clay Breece expressed surprise that a reporter called him about a “personnel matter before we have had a public board meeting. I am amazed.”
“When this election is over and we take over the board, I can tell you this will never happen again,” he said, referring to the Nov. 7 general election.
Asked who he was referring to when he said “we,” Breece responded, “the new board will not permit leaks and there will be sanctions against anyone who leaks to the media,” said Breece.
On his website, Breece has recommended the election of, and includes links to the campaign websites of Ruth Dierolf and Robert Caso in Region 1; Dana Knowlton in Region 2 and Roger Updegrove in Region 3.
Rodney Boyer is the other candidate running in Region 1. Jill Denin is the other candidate in Region 2 and Brandon Foose is also running in Region 3.
Breece also took issue with Szablowski’s comments about Boyertown board meetings being “combative,” calling that characterization “baseless and unfounded.”
Breece paraphrased a statement on his web site saying “political sparring is not bullying or mean-spirited. We must ask pointed questions to peel back the layers for full transparency.”
“Board deliberation should be polite, but also pointed and direct,” he said, again quoting statements on his web site.
He added that Szablowski “is probably really leaving because he’s going to get a big raise.”