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Although an intense budget-planning season begins in two months, the Tonawanda City School District will see a change of the guard for financial services.

Stephen Perry is retiring as director of business and finance.

Perry, who made about $93,350 last year, will officially retire on Dec. 14. However, he already left the district in mid-October and is using a combination of sick and vacation time to continue to get paid. He was not present during the board meeting last week when his retirement was unanimously approved. Perry was hired in the district in June 2012.

Although the timing of the retirement appears unusual because it will occur just as many area districts begin presenting their budgets to taxpayers, Superintendent James Newton suggested there was nothing behind the story.

“He resigned for the purposes of retiring,” Newton said. “He wants to spend more time with his family.”

Tonawanda School Board President Sharon Stuart concurred that there was no “ulterior motive.”

“He was eligible to retire, so he did,” she said. “It was pretty cut and dry.”

Newton said the district is looking to hire an interim business manager from Erie 1 BOCES next week to help with budget development over the next few months.

The district formed a shared decision-making committee made up of staff, administrators and community members to interview qualified candidates. Tonawanda is already receiving applicants for the permanent position and Newton said the salary scale would be “competitive” based on experience, but it may take one to two months for the new finance administrator to start with the district.