School board moves closer to naming interim superintendent

At Monday night’s schoolboard meeting, the board grew one step closer to hiring an interim superintendent for the South Lane School District. 

“Since the last meeting, Tammy (Hodgkinson) and I made the phone calls to the reference checks and received very positive responses for the candidate we’re considering,” said board chair Alan Baas. “We are now moving into the contract negotiation with that candidate and we will formally announce that at the next meeting.”

The board has settled on one candidate they are interested in and had plans to negotiate the contract on Monday April 30.

In the open session of the meeting, the board discussed the various details of the interim superintendent contract. The board reached an agreement on a contract that has been run by the board’s lawyers and South Lane Director of Human Resources Brian McCasline. The board discussed various ranges to provide and agreed on salary falling between $130,000-$135,000 with between 10 and 15 vacation days. 

“We’re not going to be able to hire a superintendent next year for this much money. We’re going to have to be in the $150,000s or $160,000s. So, this might seem like a bargain in a year,” said Vice Chair Sherry Duerst-Higgins.

Steve Kelley, the Oregon School Board Association member that has helped the district through the interim process, noted that according to his numbers, this is in line with the salary of superintendents of similar sizes. 

“For what it’s worth, I’m very excited about your choice, about your possibilities,” said Kelley. 

The interim superintendent is scheduled to begin work officially in August, but the board expressed interest in inviting their candidate to local events within the district as soon as next week if contract negotiations go well. 

The board also got into discussions about the process of hiring their long-term superintendent. The initial plan was to have community discussions about qualities and qualifications in the spring but, under the recommendation of Kelley, the board agreed to move those to October. 

“Being the end of school I always worry (about participation). And I would love to get people’s attention in October and saying, okay, we’re starting this process and we want you to be involved and we want you to be involved all along the way,” said Kelley. 

The tentative plan is to have conversations next fall with community members, staff, administrators and “key communicators in the city” at various times to include as many people in the conversation as possible.