Jim Shargots, Trinity Area School District director of fiscal services, is closing the books on a 27-year career in public education.
Shargots will retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
“It’s been a very satisfying, rewarding career,” said Shargots. “There have been some challenging times, especially in recent years as school districts are facing tighter budgets. But I’ve loved going to work every day and I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated individuals during my tenure in public education. It’s been a great experience.”
In October, Shargots indicated his intent to retire, and his resignation was accepted with regret by the school board.
Shargots spent virtually all of his career at Trinity, working for one year as business manager at Bentworth School District before he was hired at Trinity in 1987.
During his tenure at Trinity, Shargots worked with a dozen different school boards and 10 superintendents.
Under his leadership, the business office won eight national awards from the Association of School Business Officials International and the Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada for excellence in financial reporting.
The school district has not had a tax increase for the past seven years and has maintained an unreserved fund balance of about $2.7 million for the past six years.
The school district also completed a $30 million renovation project at the high school and middle school, built three new elementary schools and completed an addition at Trinity East.
“He’s been a pleasure to work with, very professional. He’s helped make my time here very easy in terms of providing good numbers to work with,” said Superintendent Paul Kasunich. “Given the difficult financial times, it’s been a challenge, and it’s a testament to Jim’s ability to keep looking at the numbers and finding ways to do more with less.”
Shargots graduated from Waynesburg College, where he played football, and earned his master’s degree in business administration from there.
He has participated in 25 commencement ceremonies and watched proudly as more than 6,500 graduates received their diplomas, “feeling that in some small way I helped those students achieve this important goal,” he said.
The most special moments of his career came during graduation ceremonies, when Shargots personally presented diplomas to his sons, Scott, a civil engineer with a firm in Lynchburg, Va., and Eric, an assistant manager for a pharmacy in Washington.
Shargots plans to continue working in private industry.
He noted the challenges school districts will face in the years ahead, including decreased state funding, reduced real estate tax indexes, retirement contributions, charter schools and increased special education tuition costs.
Shargots called the district “financially stable, especially compared to a lot of school districts” and feels good about leaving the district with the financial shape it’s in. He said the administration and school boards have tried, over the years, to be fiscally responsible.
“I have had the pleasure to work with an outstanding and dedicated business office staff,” said Shargots, noting assistant director of fiscal services Darla Reese has served with him throughout his tenure. “I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for all the support I have received throughout my career at Trinity, and I will always have a special feeling of Trinity pride.”