School board sets timeline for superintendent hiring process

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | 5:21 p.m. CDT; updated 10:22 a.m. CST, Wednesday, February 11, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public School Board set a basic timeline for the process of hiring a new superintendent during its work session on Thursday morning.

Bob Watkins of the superintendent search firm for the Missouri School Boards Association has been working with the school board on its search since the board's Oct. 13 meeting.

During the next month, Watkins will post the superintendent job listing to various outlets, including the MSBA Web site, and will hold three community forums to determine what qualities teachers, administrators and parents want to see in their next superintendent. The board also decided to post a questionnaire on its Web site for parents and community members and will make public announcements about the process through various media outlets and in school newsletters. The board is scheduled to assess the community and school input at a work session on Nov. 20.

The board agreed on an application closing date of Jan. 16 and will review the applications during a special closed work session on Jan. 30.  The new superintendent is expected to be employed by July 1.

Also during the meeting, the board unanimously passed a resolution to allow No Child Left Behind tutors to work with students in their schools. Because the schools are public buildings, for-profit groups such as Sylvan Learning Center are not generally allowed to operate inside them. The resolution makes it more convenient for students to receive after-school instruction because tutors will now be able to meet with students in their own schools instead of off-site, said Jack Jensen, assistant superintendent for elementary education.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act, a school in its third year of failing to meet its Academic Yearly Progress standard is required to provide state-approved supplemental education services to tutor struggling students. The district is also required to designate up to 5 percent of its Title I budget to pay for the providers, Jensen said.

The resolution affects Parkade and Field elementaries, which did not meet their test standards for the third year, Jensen said.

Parkade and Field recently hosted "provider fairs" for parents to meet with Department of Elementary and Secondary Education-approved providers to determine which providers are best for their children, Jensen said. A list of providers is available on the DESE Web site.

Noticeably absent from the meeting was Interim Superintendent Jim Ritter. Board President Michelle Gadbois said Ritter was feeling ill.

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