School board may retain interim

The South Whidbey Board of Education wants to hear from school district staff and the community before deciding whether to begin a superintendent search this fall or retain the current administrator for another year.

Board of education directors will decide at October’s business meeting whether to extend Interim Superintendent Bob Brown’s contract through the 2005-06 school year, or hire a permanent superintendent to start at that time. Brown was hired to fill the position through the 2004-05 school year.

At a Monday night board workshop, board members vacillated between wanting to start the search for a new head administrator and keeping Brown in place.

“We want to allow one month until October to hear from the staff and community,” said President Helen Price Johnson. “The directors would make themselves open to feedback from community members and staff.”

Interim Superintendent Bob Brown, who was hired in April 2004 said he is “”willing and anxious” to stay on another year.

“We are still in crisis in some areas,” he said.

Brown said the district has a lot of budget issues, organization issues, new positions to fill and negotiations with teachers and maintenance and bus drivers unions yet to do this school year.

All five board members were supportive of Brown in his role as interim superintendent.

Director Jim Adsley said he has seen improvement in the areas of trust and communication in the district since Brown was hired.

Stabilizing the district’s finances and working out personnel issues are two areas of concern for the board.

“I’ve seen tremendous success as we are moving through these issues...huge improvement in trust and communication. What I’ve seen so far indicates we are making progress,” Adsley said. “I think he is doing a great job.”

Yet, the school district has budgeted $20,000 for a superintendent search.

Board president Price Johnson hinted late in the discussion that it might be time for the district to settle in with the personnel it has.

“Is there a saturation point?” she asked, referring to changes in the district.

Currently, there are several interim positions that are expected to be filled next year including those of transportation and maintenance supervisor, assistant high school principal, and intermediate school principal.

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