Wichita schools will return to a longer school year

Melinda Hamilton

Melinda Hamilton

Alvey, who has served on the school board since 2002, said the hiring of JMCSS Superintendent Eric Jones previous year made it an easier decision to not seek re-election, because the school system is now trending in the right direction. Democrats gained control of the school board and in 2012 fired superintendent Tony Tata, who had been hired by a Republican-led board.

With the proposed budget drawing $1.2 million from the school's general fund, Cook said after the meeting that the school district would also likely have to cut its number of employees. Paula Hill, another board member, said the wording can be changed in the future if needed.

Tuesday is the day the trio of finalists for the Sheldon Community Schools Superintendent job will come to Sheldon, visit the community, and take part in face-to-face interviews with the School Board, as well as three other interview committees.

He said he made the amendment based on concerns expressed by staff at "all levels of the school system" and from his constituents. The board will then go over applications with the Virginia School Boards Association with the hope that a new superintendent will be announced in May.

Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Slack said she expects to have more solid numbers on March 30, if the state budget is finalized on time.

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"It is.my experience from years of doing this work that if a board were to insist on requiring applicants for superintendent to give permission to release their names, many top candidates would withdraw from consideration or not apply in the first place", she said.

The superintendent also defended funding for instructional facilitators after Frisch introduced an amendment to eliminate their positions. "I would love to see more people get involved (in public schools)".

"Our goal is and was to attract active superintendents who, until Wake's position opened, had no intention of leaving their current positions", Fletcher added. "There was very little interaction between the superintendent and the staff as well as the superintendent and the community", Blazek said.

District residents shared their thoughts too: Bill Patchell of Bonnie Lane asked the board to consider year-round schooling to boost student achievement, and revisiting labor contracts to keep costs down. Money from the account could be used to cover costs of tuition, school uniforms, and other education expenses.

Feedback gathered during the February 6 meeting will be collated and incorporated into future discussions on the strategic plan update, and Warren and Dietrich said those talks will continue at future board work session meetings. "That has become standard practice in this state".

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