McGUFFEY — The Upper Scioto Valley Local Board of Education board hired a new superintendent Monday and continued to work to become financially stable.Dennis Recker, former superintendent of Liberty Benton Local School District in Hancock County, has been serving as a consultant for USV for the past month. He will take over as superintendent May 1.“We are hoping that he will get our finances straightened around and educationally as well,” board President Barry Campbell said. “He did an excellent job in both of those at Liberty Benton.”Campbell said Recker came highly recommended and that the search committee believed he would do an excellent job. The board fired its previous superintendent, Rick Rolston, in January.The board approved a 16-month contract with Recker, with the option to extend for another six months. He will work at a rate of $425 a day. He plans to work three days a week, saving the district money.Also at Monday's meeting, the board approved cutting seven elementary school teachers next year. One is an intervention specialist. It will save the district $375,000, Treasurer Stacy Gratz said. The district last year reduced about $600,000, including staff cuts.Other reductions are in the works, Gratz said, saying the district will likely reduce about $500,000 total. The rest will come through things like attrition and reassigning staff.“We are not projecting a deficit, but we are projecting a low general fund balance,” Gratz said. “We are looking at other ways to save costs without reducing any more staff.”The reductions will increase class sizes, Recker said, but sizes were so low already, they will still be manageable. Classes sizes will end up between 15 and 20. District employees are again lending a hand. After taking no increases on their base pay this year, the teachers and classified staff have agreed to do the same next year. Steps based on years of service and education will remain. The board approved the contract, which expires June 30, 2013, on Monday. Administrators will also not get raises. Recker has 41 years in education, including as Liberty Benton superintendent from 1990 to 2009. He has since worked at Bowling Green State University, advising and mentoring student teachers. He lives in Findlay and will remain there. Recker began his career as a high school teacher in Wood County. He spent 10 years teaching, coaching and working in guidance at Miller City-New Cleveland Local School District. He worked at the Putnam Educational Service Center from 1980 to 1989.After Recker's time with USV, the board will likely hire a full-time superintendent.“If things go my way, we will turn things around and we will start to redefine our culture as a learning community,” Recker said. “And then they will be able to bring on their next superintendent and the culture will be driven toward academic excellence.”Recker said he has been successful in garnering support from students, staff and the community, and in return improving schools. He moved Liberty Benton to a state designated excellent with distinction school. Like there, he plans to implement a pupil evaluating tool that will measure pupil growth over time. Work on that will begin immediately, he said.“Heads are going to spin because of the work we have in front of us over the next month,” he said. “There is a lot to do to jump-start us into next year.”You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.