State College Area High School principal Craig Butler taking job in Hazleton

Craig Butler, a principal at State College Area High School, is leaving the district for an administrative job with Hazleton Area School District.

The school board approved Butler’s resignation on Monday. Butler was the State High North Building principal since he came to the district from Wyoming in 1999.

Butler’s last day will be March 22, and he will start April 2 as the assistant superintendent in the 10,000-student Hazleton Area School District in Luzerne County.

“State College is a wonderful community,” said Butler, of Spring Mills, in a phone interview after the board meeting. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 14 years here.

“I will forever have fond memories of State College. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Last week, the Hazleton Area school board approved Butler’s three-year contract. The board approved his hiring in February.

Butler said he pursued the job for two reasons.

One, the assistant superintendent job is a step up in his career. Two, the move will put him closer to his son, daughter-in-law and 3-week-old grandchild in Easton.

Butler’s contract in Hazleton Area will pay him $130,000 the first year, $133,000 the second year and $136,000 the third year.

Superintendent Robert O’Donnell said the district will start a search process to find Butler’s successor. O’Donnell said the position has to be filled because of the size of State High, with more than 2,000 students.

In other matters Monday, the school board approved a resolution endorsing reforms to the way charter and cyber schools are funded.

Among the previsions of the resolution, it asks legislators to create an independent entity to study the costs of educating charter and cyber school students to develop a tuition that “more closely reflects” the costs the schools incur to educate their students. The resolution also asks that legislators adopt a funding formula to make sure that taxpayers’ money for public education is evenly distributed to school districts, cyber schools and charter schools and that the funds are used “for their intended purpose.”

Since 2008, State College Area has paid out $18 million for charter and cyber school funding. According to district figures, this year the district spent $4.2 million.

The state has reimbursed State College Area $2.5 million since 2008, but the district hasn’t seen a dime in reimbursement money since 2010-2011.

The school board is in the middle of considering requests from Wonderland Charter School and Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania. A vote on those requests could be at next week’s meeting.

The board has received a request from Wonderland to renew its five-year charter and amend the charter to add fourth and fifth grades. The board has signaled it will approve the request after a review by district officials.

The board, though, has asked for more information from Young Scholars about teacher certification and curriculum for its request to add grades nine to 12.