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Superintendent of Schools James Parla confirmed that he will be leaving the Island Trees School District at the end of the 2008/09 school year.

According to a March 31 article in The Poughkeepsie Journal, Parla will be the new head of the Wappingers Central School District. Parla will become superintendent of the district Oct. 1; although his contract at Island Trees isn't up until 2012.

"As Wappingers superintendent, Parla will receive $210,000 annually, prorated for the 2009-10 school year," the article states. According to the New York State Education Department, Parla is earning a $205,432 base salary for the 2008/09 school year.

As of press time, Parla said he was planning on submitting his resignation letter to the board of education at the April 1 meeting. He said that serving as superintendent has been a "rewarding experience."

"It's been a privilege to be the superintendent here," he added. "Island Trees is a wonderful school district and a great place for kids to grow and learn. Island Trees will always remain dear to my heart."

Parla expressed that the ongoing lead contamination issues at Island Trees High School were not the reason for his departure.

"We have been confident that we have been dealing with this issue and doing everything that we are supposed to be doing," he added. "Certainly all of the state and federal agencies have indicated that there is no lead exposure hazard and that in fact the school is safe for students and staff."

Parla added that is "is ridiculous to think that I am running away from the lead issue."

"This issue is well in hand," he said. "The last piece of this is that we're going to some form of encapsulation."


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