NEW CASTLE —
John Sarandrea is returning to New Castle schools, but the vote to hire him as superintendent did not come unanimously.
The school board at a special meeting Tuesaday night voted 7 to 2 in favor of hiring back Sarandrea, who formerly had been a principal and basketball coach and teacher at New Castle.
A crowd of his friends and family members were in the meeting room to hear the vote, which drew loud applause. His supporters included his two sons, their grandfather, Charles Joseph, and most of the district’s administrators.
Board president David DiGiammarino and member Dr. Marilyn Berkeley cast the two no votes against his hiring.
DiGiammarino left shortly after the meeting adjourned and attempts to reach him by phone later were unsuccessful. He gave no reason publicly for his vote.
Member Mary Ann Tofel, who was out of town, cast her yes vote by phone.
Berkeley said after the meeting that she voted against Sarandrea’s hiring because “this is not the direction that I intended to proceed. This board is so fragmented that I was hoping for a person unknown to us all with a fresh perspective, who would come in here and attempt to move New Castle forward by doing the right thing for the students, teachers and taxpayers.”
“If Mr. Sarandrea is that person, he will have my full support,” she said, adding that “with all the negative press lately, it can only get better.”
Sarandrea left a 4 1/2 year contract and $117,000 pay in the Sharon City School District to accept a five-year contract at New Castle, where his new salary will be $130,000 this year, plus benefits.
Sarandrea said Sharon school directors have released him from his contract there, and he will assume his duties at New Castle on Monday.
Stanley Magusiak, who has been acting superintendent since October when George Gabriel resigned from the position, said he will be done in that position on Friday.