I posted recently on the decision of the New Albany-Plain Local Board of Education’s decision to accept the resignation of the Superintendent of Schools, pay him his six-figure salary for a year (or slightly less if he finds another job during that time period), and then hire an interim replacement at additional cost. During this recessionary period when money is tight, this doesn’t seem like a very prudent use of tax dollars.
Now our school board is talking about hiring a consulting firm, at yet more cost, to help them hire a new superintendent. Two consulting firms seem to be the finalists for the job. One would charge somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 to help the school board members do the job they were elected to do, and the other would charge 30 percent of the newly hired superintendent’s salary, plus travel expenses — a calculation that is expected to result in a fee of around $50,000. Both consultants would do some “focus groups” in the area and prepare a “profile” of what the school district should be looking for in its superintendent, which would then be used in recruiting and interviewing candidates.
Seriously, do our school board members really need focus groups and consultants to figure out what we want in a new superintendent? How about this for a job description: we need an intelligent individual who has experience in managing a school district, knows how to prepare and stick to a budget and spend tax dollars wisely, and has proven to be capable in hiring and managing school principals and in motivating administrators and teachers to achieve academic excellence. And how about having the school board members do the jobs they were elected to do and exercise some independent judgment, instead of seeking political cover by hiring consulting firms at still more cost to beleaguered taxpayers?