At a special meeting of the Aurelia School Board on June 2, Board members discussed their options as they seek a qualified person to fill the district's superintendent vacancy.
Board Secretary Vicki Kolpin told the board what she had found out from the State regarding the incentives available for districts that choose to share a superintendent. One of the requirements is that the Districts must have a contiguous border, and the Aurelia District touches six other School Districts - Cherokee, Galva-Holstein, River Valley, Alta, Sioux Central and South O'Brien. The Cherokee and Alta Districts have both made tentative, unspecified offers to explore sharing their superintendent and Board President Dan Winterhof also plans to contact the other four districts to assess their possible interest in doing so.
Any sharing agreement would have to be in place by Oct. 1, to be eligible for consideration of state incentive funding for the 2009-10 school year, so it appears that sharing a superintendent for the 2008-09 school year is not likely because neither Aurelia or a sharing district would be able to benefit financially at this time from what was descibed by visitor Les Douma as a "win-win" situation for both Districts.
Douma, long-time educator and former superintendent at three different Northwest Iowa schools, as well as the former Executive Director of the Northwest AEA, was invited to the board meeting at the suggestion of former Aurelia and Cherokee Superintendent Marlin Lode, who felt Douma might be a good person to conduct a superintendent search for the board, given his many contacts in the area.
The Board approved hiring Douma, with the cost to be determined based on how extensive a search he ends up doing. As a first step, the board will place an advertisement in the Sioux City Journal, seeking a qualified individual for a part-time position for an estimated 7 - 8 days a month (a work schedule determined after a meeting with Supt. Tom Vint, K-12 Principal Ann Sandine and Lode). This "job desciption," when formalized and put on paper, will also be distributed among the six schools with whom Aurelia has a contiguous border.
When responses have been received from the letters and advertisements, the board will meet again with Douma to determine what would be the "next best step" to take. One possibility might be hiring an interim superintendent for the 2008-09 school year, but setting up a sharing agreement with one of the six contiguous schools for the following year.
In a unrelated matter, Vicki Kolpin said that the school had just received notification that morning that the District has been selected to receive an $11,000 grant from the "School Playground Safe Surfacing Initiative," sponsored by the partnership between the Iowa Association of School Boards and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The District will use this grant money to put towards the resurfacing of the school's playground in a safer, softer surface, as discussed at ab earlier Board meeting.
No actions were taken at this meeting, and the board will meet for their regular monthly meeting next Monday, June 9th, at 7:30 p.m., to further discuss these issues, as well as any other items on the agenda.