Franklin Central School once again has a full-time principal. The post was reduced to a part-time position two years ago, as the district took steps to cut its budget deficit. Shortly after, Principal Jason Thomson left to take a position as superintendent at Delaware Academy Central School om Delhi. Since then the post was filled on an interim basis by Ron Whipple.

James Harter started in the position July 1, Franklin Superintendent Gordon Daniels said. Harter, 49, had been athletic director at Corning Painted Post Area School since 2011. It has an enrollment of 5,200 students. From 2006 to 2011, he was an elementary principal and athletic director at Waverly Central School and from 2003 to 2006 he was director of athletics at Whitesboro Central School. He taught physical education at Watkins Glen Central School from 1989 to 2003.

“I am excited to be here,” Harter said Tuesday. “I wanted to get back to a small-school setting.”

Daniels noted that Whipple “did an incredible job for us, we were lucky to have someone with his wisdom and experience.” The district took steps to improve its finances in the last couple of years that allowed it to afford restoring the full-time position. This included a one-time voluntary wage freeze and changes in insurance the allowed the district to improve its finances.   

Harter will start at an annual salary of $78,000. Whipple was paid on a per diem basis. The difference will be about $18,000, Daniels said.

The move was needed because changes in recent state requirements require more time, including the new common core curriculum and annual teacher reviews, Daniels said. It will free him to do things he hasn’t had time for yet, including a facilities review and updating the school safety plan.

Harter said he was looking forward to greeting the students in the fall. He is getting familiar with town and local residents and has enjoyed meeting staff and students. He and his wife, who is a teacher at the Greater Southern Tier BOCES in Elmira, will be relocating this summer from their Horseheads home. They haven’t decided where that will be yet.

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