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April 12, 2013

Haverhill school finance chief leaving for Whittier job

Kosmes' salary may reach $130K at regional school

HAVERHILL — The School Department’s longtime finance chief is leaving for a new job and a big pay raise.

Kara Kosmes, long-time assistant superintendent for finance and operations for Haverhill public schools, will become the new business manager at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Whittier Superintendent William DeRosa said he recommended Kosmes to the regional School Committee at its meeting Wednesday night. The committee voted unanimously to give Kosmes the job, Whittier officials said.

Kosmes will replace Kevin Mahoney, who left earlier in the year to become an assistant superintendent at Minuteman Tech in Lexington, DeRosa said.

The Whittier finance position was advertised with a salary in the $100,000 to $130,000 range, subject to negotiations. Mahoney was making $130,000 a year.

DeRosa said Kosmes’ salary will be negotiated with Whittier’s salary and negotiations committee — a subcommittee of the School Committee.

Kosmes, who has been overseeing the Haverhill district’s finances since 1997, receives $95,000 per year from her current job, according to the Haverhill school budget.

DeRosa said 14 people applied for the Whittier job, but that only four of them, including Kosmes, were licensed school business administrators. He said being a licensed school business administrator was a requirement for the position.

“There’s a shortage of people who hold licenses in leadership positions,” DeRosa said. “We didn’t expect to have a lot of candidates as there’s a shortage of business managers, superintendents and principals, and you don’t get the applicant pool we used to.”

State law requires school committees to hire business managers based on the superintendent’s recommendation, DeRosa said.

“She’s extremely professional, extremely bright, very organized, very knowledgeable and we’re thrilled to have her,” DeRosa said of Kosmes.

DeRosa said he expects Kosmes to finish the school year in Haverhill and join the Whittier district this summer. He said the school’s interim business manager David Jack has agreed to stay until then.

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