Tecumseh Public Schools to begin search for new superintendent
“We’re going to be very aggressive in our search for a new superintendent,” said Tecumseh School Board Vice President Jim Rice at Monday night’s regular meeting of the trustees. “We plan to have the position posted in August.”The announcement came as an action item on the agenda for a vote by all members and the motion to approve the timeline and process for the search passed unanimously.Current Superintendent Mike McAran recently told the board during his annual evaluation that he plans to retire after the 2012-2013 school year, which allows the board a year to find his replacement.The board members plan to review the applicants themselves rather than incurring the expense of hiring a superintendent search company as has been done on occasion in the past.The board hopes to have a good selection of applicants when the posting for the superintendent’s position is closed in early September, then sift through the applications and choose some candidates for interviews by early November. The trustees will then conduct the interviews and narrow the candidates down to a few top prospects, who will be invited to visit the school district in January. The final round of interviews is expected to occur in early February 2013 with the next superintendent to be named in March.Rice, who was presiding over the Monday night meeting in President Ed Tritt’s absence, said after the meeting that the board felt that each trustee had enough collective experience to forego hiring a search company. “We have the resources and the contacts necessary to help us formulate the questions and create interview strategies to find the most highly qualified person for the job,” he said. “The size of our district is both an advantage and a disadvantage for attracting a new superintendent. We could be an important step up for someone coming from a smaller district, but we might not be big enough to attract someone who has a large school district in mind for their next move.”In a later interview, McAran said that with the tentative March deadline the board is hoping to provide the new superintendent as much transitional time as possible to acclimate to the Tecumseh Public School District and become acquainted with the personnel before taking the helm.McAran will retire with 22 years of service to the district when he steps down next June. He was employed variously as assistant principal and athletic director from 1976 to 1983 before taking a position with Sand Creek school district. He then came back to Tecumseh Public Schools and was interim superintendent after Supt. Todd Bingaman passed away. He served as interim superintendent from February 2005 until the end of the school year and applied for the position and was hired by the board.Another issue before the board Monday night was the budget for 2012-2013. Prior to the regular meeting, the board held a public hearing to approve various points of the budget presented by Finance and Operations Director Judy Pfund, which by law must be balanced and completed before July.McAran pointed out to those in attendance that public schools are required to approve a balanced budget before they know what the revenues for the coming school year will be. State school districts have found it necessary to deal with three major factors creating reductions in revenue: declining student enrollment, less money per pupil from the state, and falling property values. “We have had this trend for the past seven or eight years,” he said. “We’re getting less now than we did in 2005-2006.”The foundation allowance for that school year was $6,875. This year, TPS will receive $6,846 for each student. The district’s bottom line has been affected by the statewide belt-tightening. Revenue for the general fund this year is projected to be $22,269,791. Last year’s fund balance was $22,723,112, $453,321 more than will be available for this school year. Last year’s fund equity (money that can be used for unforeseen repairs, etc.) was $2,835,161. It is anticipated that the fund equity will stand at $2,097,760 at the end of the 2012-2013 school year, a decline of approximately $700,000.Board members received some good news at the meeting from the Tecumseh Acres PTO. PTO spokesperson Cherie Lige addressed the board to ask it to accept a $40,000 gift to be used to purchase new playground equipment for Tecumseh Acres. The board is required to approve any donation from a benefactor.Lige reviewed the proposed equipment to be installed, along with representatives from the equipment manufacturer, Superior Play. She also briefly recounted the five-year fundraising effort that the PTO had conducted to raise the money, including annual 5K runs at the school, numerous bake and garage sales, wreath sales, and raffles for an iPod and kayak, plus other money-raising efforts.Lige said that Tecumseh Acres will host a “Community Build Day” on Saturday, Aug. 11, when the PTO will ask for assistance from anyone willing to help put the new equipment together. The playground equipment manufacturer provides detailed instructions and the necessary tools as part of the package deal.