Bangor Area School District officials said goodbye Monday night to Steve Wiencek, the district’s business manager who is retiring after 16 years.
Wiencek, a no-nonsense, straight –talking manager with a dry sense of humor (he calls the Affordable Health Care Act the Unaffordable Health Care Act), was the architect behind the district’s $51.6 million budget.
Wiencek has said the district’s budget problems will not get any easier in the coming years and predicted staff cuts will have to be made to balance budgets.
But at Monday night’s school board meeting, board members and Superintendent Frank DeFelice took turns praising Wiencek for all he had done.
DeFelice said Wiencek was one of no more than three or four people he has known in 26 years in education who comes to work every day and gives “150 percent.”
Wiencek, DeFelice said, does his job, helps other people and doesn’t complain: a “rare, rare trait these days,” he added.
"He had a stellar career,” DeFelice said.
The board has hired Mark Schiavone as new business manager, at $90,000 annually.
On another note, former school board member Charlie Cole, speaking on behalf of about a dozen people in the audience, said he thought the school’s marching band was getting short shrift in light of a scheduling change that has apparently reduced its field practice time by one-third.
The problem, he said, is there are more teams than there are fields to play and practice on.
But what made matters even worse, he said, was the fact that discussions were held with coaches on how to allocate field time but apparently without any involvement of the marching band.
“Things like this just can’t happen,” Cole said. “It makes the band feel like second-class citizens.”
Pam Colton, the board president, was offended by the remark.
“That’s a little insulting,” Colton said, telling Cole his comments were “really not fair.”
About 110 to 120 students are in the band, he said.
He said the problem was exacerbated about two years ago when girls soccer moved from a spring sport to the fall.