WILKES-BARRE — Bernard Prevuznak was named Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s superintendent, again, by a 7-3 vote at a special meeting Tuesday, getting a three-year contract starting at $140,000 with raises based on his ranking under a new evaluation system with four levels. Prevuznak gets nothing for the first two levels, 2 percent for the third level and 3 percent for the highest level.
Immediately after the vote, Board Member Maryanne Toole announced she is moving to California by December to live with her brother and will be departing the board. She said she was giving advance notice so the other members could decide how to fill her seat, which doesn’t expire for two more years.
Toole joined Lynn Evans and Christine Katsock in voting against Prevuznak, who was given the job last November but gave it up in April, citing family demands, and returned to his job as deputy superintendent.
The board also voted to eliminate the position of deputy superintendent. Prevuznak said more duties will be assigned to the primary and secondary school directors, though he noted the board has yet to replace Secondary Director Andrew Kuhl, who recently left to become superintendent at Hanover Area School District.
On Tuesday Prevuznak said he had been urged by board members, district staff and members of the public to reconsider and return to the superintendent’s post. “This kept tugging at me,” he said.
Katsock said she voted against Prevuznak because he had already turned down the job once, and because she felt the salary was too high. Evans said she feels the district needs “new blood to move forward.”
In announcing what will essentially be a resignation after a decade on the board, Toole started choking up as she talked of her husband’s death in January. “My friend, my confidant, my partner and the love of my life, my husband Tom, unexpectedly passed away. We had a lovely life together,” she said, “and sometimes Tom would compare us to Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Romeo and Juliet, Scarlett and Rhett.”
Toole said she expects to attend the next two meetings. Once she leaves, the board can vote for someone to fill her post, though with the advance notice they could seek applicants beforehand.
Prevuznak has been with the district since 1980 and was made deputy superintendent in 2002. When his predecessor Jeff Namey retired last summer, Prevuznak was made interim superintendent and the board launched a national search for a replacement.
Five members of the board declared the search over in November and voted to give the job to Prevuznak, with the four minority members claiming the move was a surprise and the search process was not complete. But in April, Prevuznak had cited his father’s health and stepped down to deputy superintendent, agreeing to serve as interim until a replacement was found.