Albion hires new school business administrator
Shawn Liddle is retiring after 23 years with the district
ALBION – The school district will have a new business administrator with the retirement of Shawn Liddle, who has managed the district’s finances the past 23 years.
Derek Vallese, the current treasurer for Newfane Central School, was hired by the Board of Education on Monday. He will start with Albion next month. Liddle is retiring in March 31. He will still be able to work with other school officials to have most of the district’s proposed budget in place. That budget will likely be approved by the board in April and go for a public vote in May.
Vallese said Albion is well regarded for its financial management among school business officials in Western New York. The district, which currently has a $35 million budget, has one of the lowest per pupil costs in WNY and hasn’t raised taxes in 10 of the past 12 years.
“For a business official I couldn’t imagine a better scenario to come into,” Vallese said after Monday’s BOE meeting. “Shawn has done a great job.”
The district has gradually reduced staff as enrollment has fallen. That is one reason it has been able to preserve existing programs without a big tax increase.
Other districts have had some rough patches, especially with a state aid reduction about a decade ago. Some of those districts made significant staff cuts and reduced some programs.
Albion was able to weather that storm, drawing on reserves and making reductions in employees at a rate similar to the enrollment decline. That allowed Albion to stave off big layoffs in a single year.
Albion was able to preserve its extracurricular and sports programs during the state aid crisis a decade ago, even keeping all of its modified teams for seventh- and eighth-graders.
Margy Brown, the Board of Education president, said she appreciates Liddle’s work as a watchdog for the district’s money.
“He’s done a phenomenal job keeping the district financially sound,” Brown said.
Liddle also has been a key district official for several capital improvement projects in the past two decades.