BELLEFONTE The Bellefonte Area school board unanimously approved a $140.662.08 2014-15 salary for Superintendent Cheryl Potteiger at its meeting Tuesday night.
That’s a 2 percent increase from last year and includes a one-time merit pay, or bonus, of $1,723.80, according to a report from the district.
Potteiger has been with the district since 2011.
She was formerly an assistant superintendent of the Hamburg Area School District in Berks County.
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The board also approved 13 jobs that include an elementary guidance counselor, guidance clerk, kindergarten teacher, librarian, math teacher, music teacher, para-educator, social studies teacher, and cafeteria and custodial workers.
All new staff will replace former employees who are no longer in those positions, a document from the district said.
When some community members heard that longtime Bellefonte English teacher and softball coach Gregg Kohlhepp announced his retirement, they knew they had to rally around him in support.
The board accepted his retirement at the meeting. But community members present at the meeting said they think Kohlhepp was forced to step down.
Bellefonte resident Chris Morelli said he has a daughter in middle school who also plays softball and was looking forward to her being coached by Kohlhepp, but was surprised by the coach’s retirement. He said he wasn’t sure the “real reason” behind it.
Board member Robert Lumley-Sapanski, who filled in for board President Keith Hamilton, spoke on behalf of the board saying Kohlhepp’s retirement was a “personnel issue” that could not be discussed publicly.
Potteiger, nor the board had further comment for the CDT.
About a half dozen other community members, and former students and players also took the podium at the meeting to say something positive about Kohlhepp.
“You all should be proud to have a man like that teaching and coaching at the district,” Hannah Cooper told the board Tuesday.
Cooper graduated from Bellefonte Area High School in 2012 and played softball under Kohlhepp who, she said, helped her extend play into college.
She was part of the Bellefonte state championship team in 2010.
Cooper is entering her junior year at Central Connecticut State University, where she plays softball for the Blue Devils.
“I owe a lot to him,” she said. “He helped me get there.”
Kohlhepp has been with the district since 1997, Lumley-Sapanski said.
The board will hold its next meeting 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at the middle school.