Maestro Macri to be Voorheesville’s next superintendent

Frank Macri

The Enterprise — Sean Mulkerrin

Frank Macri holds a Voorheesville shirt that the school board presented him with after voting him in Tuesday evening as the district’s next superintendent.

VOORHEESVILLE — After an early start and protracted search process, the next superintendent of the Voorheesville Central School District, it turns out, was in the district’s backyard the whole time. 
Frank Macri, a Voorheesville resident and the current superintendent of the Duanesburg Central School District, was named on Tuesday as the next superintendent of the Voorheesville schools. 

His first day is expected to be Dec. 15. 

Macri signed three-and-a-half-year contract with the district that will pay him a starting salary of $160,000 per year. 

His appointment comes after a long search that saw 19 “certified and qualified” candidates apply for the open position in April, only to have board’s first choice back out of the job in June, sending the district “back to square one.”  

In January, then-Superintendent Brian Hunt said he would be retiring at the end of the school year, June 30. That timeline got moved up when Hunt announced that he would be taking medical leave effective June 1. 

The board then named Mark Doody acting superintendent on May 31, removing that label just a month later and appointing Doody as interim superintendent. 

Macri began as superintendent of Duanesburg schools in January 2018, and his departure seems to come as a bit of a surprise. In a message to the community, the Duanesburg Board of Education wrote of Macri’s exit, “While this was not expected, we will continue with the business of running the school district and begin a search for a new superintendent … .”

But it wasn’t as if Macri had been looking for the door; leaving Duanesburg wasn’t something he had planned on let alone thought about, but a rare opportunity presented itself. “The only reason I took this position and went after this position is I live in this community; my four children are in this community, in kindergarten through ninth grade,” he told The Enterprise. 

The opportunity to give back to a place in which he’s become so invested, he said, was just too much to pass up. It was a bittersweet decision to leave Duanesburg, he said, but it’s one that will allow him to better serve his community. 

Duanesburg, a rural district west of Voorheesville has about 740 students. Voorheesville, a suburban district, has about 1,180 students

Macri began his career as a music teacher in the Salem Central School District in Washington County, near the Vermont border. He then went to the Lansingburgh Central School District in Troy and was a teacher there until 2005, when he made the transition to administrator and became the high school’s assistant principal there, eventually taking over as principal.

Macri said that went into administration because he felt he could make a bigger difference for the students he “served.” 

Macri “wore many hats” at Lansingburgh, he said; along with being the high school’s principal, he was also the district’s data coordinator. In October 2017, he was named Duanesburg’s superintendent and started in the job in January 2018. 

Drawing on his music-teacher background, Macri said, a school district is like an orchestra where everyone has to work together to be successful. 

While Voorheesville’s students continually rank among the best in the state, Macri does have a few outside-the-classroom issues he will have to deal with when he takes over for Doody in December. 

Challenges ahead

The district announced in March that it was facing a half-million dollar shortfall, primarily due to a spike in drug costs. Then, just a few weeks later, the budget deficit had increased another $80,000, leaving the school board scrambling for ways to bridge a $622,000 gap.

To fill the gap, in addition to the increase in property taxes, the school board among other cuts approved the slow elimination of the French program, a kindergarten teacher position — which has since been restored due to $100,000 in bullet aid the district received — the school resource officer program, three full-time teaching assistants, and one full-time aid.

During the July 9 board meeting, Francis Rielly, Voorheesville’s assistant superintendent of finance and operations, said that the district ended the fiscal year, June 30, with $330,000 in its prescription-drug fund-balance reserve; the reserve had been as high as $681,000 just a few months earlier. 

To start the new fiscal year, Rielly said, the district was able to move $300,000 from the end-of-fiscal-year fund balance to the prescription-drug fund-balance reserve, giving the district a total reserve of $630,000 to start the new school year. Reilly said that, when he met with the district’s pharmacy benefit manager recently, he was told that the $630,000 reserve should be sufficient for the new school year. 

With what is planned to be placed in the reserve for the 2019-20 school year, Doody said at the July meeting, the prescription-drug fund-balance reserve could be nearly or completely wiped out by the end of next year. 

An exiting Hunt and outgoing board President Doreen Saia both warned people of the serious problem that the district is facing with its prescription-drug program.  

Hunt told The Enterprise in May that something had to be done about the district’s program because, he said, “That’s eating us alive.” 

Saia, in what turned out to be her second-to-last meeting as board president, said that that the district was facing an “existential crisis” with its drug plan, which, she said, “is not an exaggeration … At least based on the numbers I’ve seen.”

For his part, Macri said that he’s dealt with budget cuts, recessions, and insurance issues in the past. But, as for Voorheesville-specific problems, he said, because he’s yet to start the job and examine the district’s programs, he can’t say where its weaknesses may be.  

Asked about the prescription-drug problem, he said, “I think it’s one day at a time, and you really have to look at all aspects — and all avenues of the programs.”

He concluded,“It’s not an easy fix.”

More New Scotland News

  • “The last time I talked to my sister we agreed the vultures are just waiting to pounce,” Herman Picard said.

  • Voorheesville schools are in a better financial position going into the 2020-21 budget season than they were around this time last year. 

  • In back-to-back court filings, Stewart’s Shops states that its lawsuit against the village of Voorheesville should not be dismissed because the village’s adoption of a new zoning code was “far from an ordinary municipal comprehensive planning and zoning enactment process.” Voorheesville responded, again, that the case should be dismissed because Stewart’s latest argument does nothing to alter “the conclusion that the Village lawfully changed its zoning code for the district in which the subject property is located.”

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