Committee rejects superintendent applicants

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By Carol A. Clark

JEROME>>> STUDENT ACHIEVEMENTS Board of Education members enjoy checking out a scrap book of memories created by student council members at Los Alamos High School and presented to the board by student representatives Caroline Wurden and Benigno Sandoval at Tuesday's school board meeting in the LAHS Speech Theater. From left, Ken Johnson, Joan Ahlers, Alison Beckman, Jody Benson and Steve Girrens.

Assistant Superintendent Mary McLeod told school board members Tuesday evening that the screening committee rejects all seven applications seeking to replace Superintendent James Anderson who retires in June.

None of the seven applicants scored high enough in the committee's rating system. "It was unanimous not to advance any of the candidates," McLeod said, adding that 32 committee members were included in that voted.

The screening committee wants to debrief the board about the process and to discuss their thoughts on why the district received so few applicants for the top job. The board decided the public should be present and tentatively scheduled a special meeting for 6:30 p.m. March 25 at the Speech Theater. The board will review applicant information between now and then. They will ultimately decide whether to pursue any of them further or to move into an interim management situation and begin the search process again next year.

During Tuesday's meeting in the Los Alamos High School Speech Theater, the board praised McLeod, Human Resources Director James Telles and the screening committee for their hard work and diligence throughout the entire search process.

Board discussion moved to the Trinity Development Project. Board Vice President Joan Ahlers is project liaison to the county. She could not get confirmation from Assistant County Manager Tony Mortillaro before Tuesday's meeting but told board members that to the best of her knowledge, the county and Boyer are still moving forward. Once the agreement is finalized, Ahlers said it may require one vote or potentially three votes from the school board because there will be three separate documents involved in the agreement. A joint meeting between the board and the county is set for May 6 in Council Chambers, Board President Steve Girrens said. Following final discussion, the board is scheduled to vote on the Trinity Development Project at that time.

Board member Alison Beckman questioned hidden costs associated with the project such as how much it's going to cost to move the district's administrative offices from the current location. "I want to be visible and bring these items to light," Beckman said. The board agreed.

Ahlers told the board, "It's high time we had a discussion on where we're going to go." Options include the Canyon site, Mesa and a potion of the Pueblo Complex on Diamond Drive. Board Secretary Ken Johnson asked to review estimates made on the sites in the past.

The decision was made to have district staff including McLeod, Business Director John Wolfe and facilities experts and contract administrators Tom Littleton and Herb McLean work out several models once square footage and other details are determined.

Once all the documents are signed, there will be a minimum of 18 months lead time before anyone has to move, Girrens said. The board decided to place the Trinity Development Project in the "Information to the Board" category on their meeting agendas to enable the public to weigh in on the subject at each meeting.

The district's 20-Year Facilities Renewal Plan also will remain on meeting agendas. The board plans to invite members of the public to participate in a variety of committees to begin working towards a bond election to be held sometime next year.

In other matters, McLeod presented a three-year calender, which required a vote of the board. The board approved the calender 4-1. Beckman voted against the motion because she preferred voting less than three years out. The board unanimously approved both their meeting scheduled for the 2008-09 school year and the district's open meeting policy. The board approved, in accordance with Section 10-15-1C of the Open Meetings Act to allow a member to participate in a meeting by telephone conferencing or other similar communications equipment when it's otherwise difficult or impossible for the member to attend the meeting in person.

The board has scheduled a special meeting at noon on Friday to review additional board policies. The public is invited to attend.

Editor's note: The board elected Steve Girrens president, Joan Ahlers vice president and Kenneth Johnson secretary at Tuesday's board meeting. A separate article regarding their future plans will be published in the Monitor later this week.