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Alta, Aurelia Boards mull shared administrators

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AURELIA - At last week's monthly Aurelia School Board meeting, Principal Ann Sandine showed a Power Point presentation that is being prepared for the upcoming November 30 site visit by the Iowa Department of Education, and Superintendent Jack Johnson and Sandine reviewed the recommendations made by the School Improvement Advisory Committee at its recent meeting.

The Board also approved the application to the state for At-Risk Allowable Growth and approved the school's renewed participation in the IDAPT (drug and alcohol testing program).

In other business, Sandine reviewed the district's Annual Progress Report and the Board approved the second reading of a group of Board policies.

Senior students Beckett Smith, Amber Loucks & Regan Henkel appeared before the Board to request participation in the Senior Release Program for the second semester, and this was approved by the Board.

The Board also approved hiring an elementary teacher for a split 2nd Grade for the remainder of the school year.

The Board also approved a meeting with the Alta School Board to continue discussions on the search for a Shared Superintendent with consultant Les Douma.

The two Boards met as scheduled on Monday November 15 at the Alta High School. Douma again reviewed the search process for Board members.

The advertisements for the position of Shared Superintendent were recently placed, and Douma said he has received two completed applications to date, as well as several phone calls requesting more information, and he said he has made a few phone calls to potential candidates as well. He will review all candidates and present three or four to the Boards for their approval, then each candidate will be scheduled for a one-day visit to the Aurelia and Alta schools.

In a busy, tightly-scheduled day, the candidate will meet with administrators for a brief tour of the school, then meet with a focus group of students in each district; teachers from both districts; a focus group of parents from both districts; and, in the evening, with the combined School Boards.

Douma said a typist will be hired to type up interview responses posed by each Focus Group, and these will be available for the Board to review when meeting with the candidate. Douma said he will be present throughout the day, primarily to ensure that meetings keep following the scheduled times.

The Board also discussed the possibility of candidates needing hotel accommodations the night before their interview, particularly those who may be traveling some distance, since the interviews will start at 8:15 a.m. One candidate per day will be interviewed.

When the Board makes a decision on hiring, Douma will call the chosen candidate and inform he/she that they have been selected. A contract will be drawn up at that point and the news released to the press.

The two Boards displayed a good working relationship during he meeting, which included considerable discussion and the expression of opinions and concerns from members of both Boards, thus leading to several decisions from the Boards.

There was considerable discussion about which would be a more appropriate split of responsibilities for the Shared Superintendent's salary - a 50-50 split between the two districts, or a 60% Alta, 40% Aurelia split. Both boards voted unanimously to go with the 60-40 split. The Boards also agreed that Alta would hold the Superintendent's contract.

The Boards had a lot of discussion about hiring a shared Elementary Principal who would work in both districts (both will be serving elementary students in their buildings), or perhaps hiring an assistant to help principals. The final decision approved by both Boards was to hire a Shared Elementary Principal, with Aurelia holding that person's contract, and the salary to be paid via the same 60-40 split as the Superintendent's position.

Further discussion will ensue regarding this position, and there seemed to be a consensus that the new Superintendent, when he or she is hired, should be a part of that hiring process.

The Boards expect to hire a Superintendent on January 18, 2011.

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