CATAWISSA RR - A new business manager was hired Monday night at the Southern Columbia Area Board meeting.

Michael Sokoloski was chosen to replace the departing Dan Rodgers, but he wasn't approved unanimously.

"I'm not questioning his abilities, but I think we could have been less generous with salary and benefits," said Director Eric Stahley, who cast the lone dissenting vote.

Sokoloski was hired at $80,000, pending completion of all employment requirements, for the term starting Oct. 3 through June 30, 2013. Rodgers earns $84,000.

Sokoloski will replace Rodgers, who handed his resignation into the board in August. Rodgers will leave his position on Oct. 22 after nearly six years of service for a business manager position with the Pennsbury School District.

Sokoloski, 45, of Lavelle, was working as a controller for a private company and has seven years of experience with Central Columbia and Shikellamy school districts.

"The school business is ever changing; it's a learning experience. I work for the board and the taxpayer," he said.

With rising health care and pension funding as well as massive cuts from the state to education funding, he said he is well aware of the difficulties facing schools.

"It's a challenging road ahead. Everyone is doing more with less," he said, adding that he is up for the task.

He will train with Rodgers until October, at which time he will fully assume the position.

Directors Paul Starr and John Yocum made and seconded the motion to hire Sokoloski. It passed 7-1 with Stahley voting against the motion. Director Charlene Cove was absent.

Make-up days

Due to the devastating flood earlier this month, SCA was forced to close school for three days. Students and faculty will make up those days Sept. 29, Feb. 20 and March 9. Sept. 30 will become a teacher in service day. Should the district need additional make-up days, they may use days off scheduled during March and April or at the end of the school year.

In other business

The board tabled a decision concerning a foreign language student trip to Quebec City, Canada, for a winter carnival Jan. 26 through 30, as well as five change orders for the district's building project. The board is requesting more information.