Archive for Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Board continues search for new superintendent

March 9, 2010

Before Interim Superintendent Ron Wimmer steps down from his position at the end of the 2010-2011 school year he wants to have his successor lined up.

And if all goes according to plan, the board could be making its decision on the new staff member by April 19.

On Monday, Wimmer discussed with De Soto’s USD 232 Board of Education the steps needed to hire his replacement.

The first step was to post the position. The next step would be for the board to approve the hiring process, which would include creating a focus group that would consist of board members, principals, community members, teachers and special educators to identify desired characteristics in the new superintendent. The public would also be allowed to make their input on desired characteristics known to the district by its Web site, mail or telephone.

“Anybody could write in about suggested characteristics they are looking for (in a superintendent),” Wimmer said.

All applications would by due by April 1.

Between April 2-6, the board, Wimmer and area superintendents would screen the applicants. On April 7-8, the references on the selected 3-5 applicants would be contacted and interviews would be set up on April 9.

The board would then plan to interview the candidates between April 13-16 and make their selection by April 19.

Board member Jim Thomas liked the plan, but wanted to make sure there was consistency among the questions asked to the applicants during the interview.

Board member Bill Fletcher wanted to have each candidate make a presentation to the public about their goals for the district, but Wimmer said the applicants may want to remain confidential until the process is over.

In other business:

• The board named Tobie Waldeck, Monticello Trails Middle School principal, to be the principal at Mill Valley high School for the 2010-2011 school year. This came after Joe Novak, MVHS’s current principal, announced his retirement after 37 years in education

• accepted Denis Johnson resignation as director of facilities. His resignation will be effective at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

• accepted Mike Stithem resignation as principal of Clear Creek Elementary. His resignation will be effective at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

• Accepted the bid from Combes Construction Co. for the new expansion at the De Soto High School. Mark Franzen, president of Horst, Terrill & Karst architects, said the bids came in about 30 percent lower than the estimated $3.1 to complete the project.

He said there were 19 bids, which ranged from the low $2.2 million to the estimated cost.

Boardmember Don Clark suggested the district look at possibly completing phase II of the expansion if the bids were coming in this low.

“You are saving right now,” Franzen said. “If you need it and you can afford it now is a good time.”

The board accepted the Combes’ bid and added the construction of 15 new parking spaces in front of the school for about $16,000.

Board member Randy Johnson abstained from the vote. Board member Janine Gracy was not present at the meeting.

• The board approved the new fee schedule for the 2010-2011 school year. At the elementary schools, textbook and instructional resource fees went up from $25 to $35 for kindergarten and to $60 for all other grades. Elementary school lunches went up a dime from $1.75 to $1.85 and milk prices went up from $.35 for half a pint to $.40 for half a pint. The kindergarten milk program at Clear Creek Elementary also went up from $45 to $50 a year. Breakfast prices remained the


At the middle schools, textbook and instructional resource fees went up from $55 to $70. Lunch prices went up from $1.85 to $1.95. Some course fees also increased. Art fees will now be $10 for all grades; band fees will be $15 for all grades; family and consumer science fees have gone up from $7.50 to $10.

At the high schools, textbook and instructional resource fees went up from $65 to $70. Lunch prices went up from $1.85 to $1.95. Some course fees also increased. Art fees went up to $20 from $17; drafting is up from $7 to $10; family and consumer science is up from $15 to $20; lifetime fitness is up from $8 to $10; added a $10 fee for the 4-year Project Lead the Way engineering course; science lab is up to $10 from $8. An optional testing fee for advanced placement classes is also available for $86.

• Approved the addition of a new seventh-grade music class called Music Around the World 7 for students who are required to take a music class but "do not have an interest or propensity to participate in a performance-based music class, to explore music appreciation."

• Approved a request to offer Spanish I at the eighth-grade level to allow seniors the ability to reach Spanish V by the time they are seniors.


LuceoNonUro1 7 years, 8 months ago

Why is the De Soto School Board hiring a "Superintendent-Elect"?

Several members of the board are constantly complaining the administration is "top heavy", yet they are going to pay for TWO superintendents for a year.

Why are they laying off teachers, special education specialist, and para-professionals if they have enough money to pay for 2 Superintendents?

The parents of children in the De Soto USD232 school district should be outraged at how their district is being run!


jj1230 7 years, 8 months ago

As a USD232 staff member of 15-plus-years. I've worked under three Superintendants. I am responding to LuceoNonUro1's concern. As one in the trenches I applaud our new and improved BOE. They're doing a great job rebuilding the trust we haven't had here for too long. We now have transparency to the community and the fear-factor of speaking up for ourselves and those we serve is dissolving. Talk to staff. Do your homework. Attend a board meeting. Most importantly - beware those who poison the well. We now feel safe talking to Dr. Wimmer, our building principals, and BOE without fear of retribution. As to your comments, FACT: no TEACHERS have been laid off. We have lost some through attrition - resignation and retirement. Yes, other staff cuts will be made. Some in areas too fat for too long, some in areas we took for granted, but all painful because of the FACES attached to them. Regardless of who or why these are tough decisions the BOE must make because the well of tax money from the State has been shut off. Cuts must and will be made. The BOE understands that EDUCATORS are critical and must be last. Not one of us, including BOE, likes putting people out of work. As for paying "two superintendants" for one year, again, you are misinformed. Dr. Wimmer, a man I have found to both listen and act on concerns will, most-likely, step down quickly once the superintendant-elect is brought up to speed and a seamless transition is established, common practice in many districts. Good sense given the state of our economy and the importance of our goal: Providing a safe environment and quality education to our students as creatively as we can with whatever we have to work with. I hope I get the privilege of helping our district lead Kansas in doing this but if not, there will be no hard feelings and a whole lot of cheering from the sidelines.


LuceoNonUro1 7 years, 8 months ago

“jj1230”, please take note of the first few sentences of the De Soto Explorer article from March 9, 2010. (This article!)

From the De Soto Explorer “Before Ron Wimmer steps down as superintendent at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, he wants to have his successor lined up. And if all goes according to plan, the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education could name the new administrative leader by April 19. On Monday, Wimmer discussed with the board the steps needed to hire his replacement.” From the March/April USD232 School News “One Year Transition The board believes a smooth transition of leadership is essential to the continued success of the school district. Dr. Wimmer, interim superintenent, agreed in October, 2009 to continue guiding the district through the end of the 2010-11 school year. The plan is to have the superintendent-elect work side-by-side with Dr. wimmer for a period of twelve months, if a highly qualified is located over the next several weeks. “We sincerely appreciate the strategic leadership of Dr. Wimmer, but know he cannot remain with us long term,” said Board President Tim Blankenship. “We believe this plan will ensure a smooth transition for the school system and build on the positive influence of Dr. Wimmer.” The board agreed to move forward on the plan by posting the open position and will not seek the assistance of a search firm. The salary of the superintendent-elect will be offset by the reduction of administration costs.”

Do you have information that is not available to the Patrons and Parents of the District? If so, where did you get the information?


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