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Rotella resigns, SKSD looking for new finance director

For the second time in three years, the South Kitsap School District is looking for a finance director.

Sandy Rotella, assistant superintendent of business services, left March 28 to return to Colorado to continue her career. She announced her resignation March 13 in a memo to district officials.

Amy Miller, district spokesperson, said the district will accept applications for Rotella’s position until April 25 for the district, home to more than 9,000 students.

During Rotella’s tenure, the school district experienced declining enrollment, budget shortfalls and employee layoffs.

In May 2013, the board approved cutting 68 jobs, including 61 teaching positions under Interim Superintendent Bev Cheney that would reduce a $3-million shortfall.

Of the 68 positions proposed to be cut, 33 would be eliminated due to the $2.5 budget reduction, but 25 would remain open because of retirement and resignations.

In June, during the school district’s budget process, the South Kitsap Education Agency issued a statement that teachers in the district voted no confidence in Rotella and expressed concerned about teacher layoffs and class sizes.

Former school board member Kathryn Simpson said Rotella was “villainized unjustly by SKEA last year.”

“She repeatedly informed us of the risks associated with our shrinking fund balance and the board took those risks into consideration as we continued to focus on student achievement needs,” said Simpson “SKEA chose to use her as a whipping post. I was extremely disappointed in their intentional misinformation campaign mounted against Sandy to stir up the SKEA troops towards a strike vote.”

Simpson said Rotella was “extremely competent and honest.”

“We lost a forthright, articulate and honorable leader,” Simpson said.

Rotella joined the district in July 2011 after serving six years as assistant superintendent of finance and operations for the Adams County School District 50 in Westminster, Colo.

Rotella, 47, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting in 1988 from Colorado State University, was a certified public accountant in Colorado. She joined the Thompson School District as executive director of finance in Loveland in 1994. She moved on to Westminster in 2005.

Rotella replaced Terri Patton, who retired.

 

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