Archive for Thursday, January 12, 2006

School board eyes host of new issues

January 12, 2006

With several meetings in the next month to talk about policies, the future superintendent and the district's mission, the Baldwin Board of Education used Monday's meeting to begin those discussions.

The majority of the meeting was spent creating a list of characteristics for the district's next superintendent and tabling other items for future meetings.

A consultant from the Kansas Association of School Boards will be coming Jan. 19 to help the board select four or five candidates from its list of applicants.

"I think it's important to know what you are looking for, because you are going to get a lot of qualified people and you've got to be able to pick who you want to bring in for an interview," Board Member Bill Busby said.

Board Member Alison Bauer agreed, saying the board doesn't want to cancel out many applicants before next Thursday's meeting.

"The board would really like to have input on most of the candidates," Bauer said. "We really don't want a whole bunch of the candidates screened out before we have a chance to look at them. We want to be involved in that process."

KASB provided the school board with a list of possible characteristics to include. The board decided to create its own list of required and preferred qualities.

One important aspect of the list was going to be prioritizing the characteristics.

"I think that prioritizing those things that are most important to us is going to help give them a direction to go with," Bauer said.

After a long discussion and many viewpoints expressed, the school board chose four qualities as being required. In priority, they are leadership, educational vision, communication skills and management skills.

"I was happy with the list of job qualifications for the new superintendent," Busby said. "I thought that we hit the high points. If we can get somebody who is strong in all of those areas, it should be a great hire."

School Board President Lonnie Broers said the list should be helpful in selecting a candidate.

"I think it is a pretty comprehensive list that covers about everything we want to look at," Broers said. "I think it will serve the purpose we want it to serve."

The school board also came up with a list of four desired qualities for its list of characteristics. Those are commitment to effective school and community relations, business and budget skills, technology skills and strong educational experience.

"I really am happy with the list," Bauer said. "The list that was generated by the community and staff and Mr. (Bill) Majors was exhaustive. I think this captures the most important points of all those things that were brought forth. In my opinion, that is a good short list to get started with."

On Jan. 19, the board will meet with the KASB group in an executive session to go over the applications and limit the number to four or five, which will be brought in for interviews.

The following Monday, Jan. 23, the school board will hold a special meeting with the building administrators to begin discussing district policies.

Then the school board also decided Monday to have a work session at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the District Office. This session will be used for discussing the district's mission and the proposed administrative alignment plan.

Briefly brought up at Monday's meeting was the facilities committee, which visited Baldwin High School, Baldwin Junior High School and Vinland Elementary School last week.

"So far, the tours have been very interesting," Bauer said. "We have learned a lot. I am looking forward to having to having a public forum and public input. I also think any other source we can gather information from what the community wants as far as our facilities go can be productive."

The committee will visit the other three buildings today.

At the beginning of the meeting, the professional learning committees (PLC) from the science and librarian groups spoke. The BHS and BJHS science PLC talked about its concerns for the state assessments in the next year. The librarian PLC discussed its concerns for lack of funds and time to properly do their job, which has changed into librarian/media specialist.

"I think they were just being very open and straight forward on what their needs were as they see them," Supt. James White said. "It comes back to a very difficult time period over the last three years, where we have had no new money."

After executive session, the board approved the personnel report. It included the resignation of BHS boys' assistant track coach Steve Hemphill. The two hires were Laura Morford as the District Office Administrative Assistant and Steve Jackson as a BHS evening and Saturday custodian.

The next regularly scheduled school board meeting is at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center.

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