Local News

USD 363 holds off on search

The Holcomb school board voted unanimously Monday night to keep Demitry Evancho as interim superintendent for an additional year, through the 2010-11 school year.

Date: 11/10/2009

Posted by Holcomb USD #363 on 11/10/2009


By RACHAEL GRAY

rgray@gctelegram.com

The board was looking for a new superintendent after former Superintendent Robert O'Connor resigned in September to take a job in Texas. It hired Evancho as interim superintendent, and initially planned on having him serve in that role through the end of this school year.

The board discussed the notion of hiring an outside agency to find a superintendent, but with state budget cuts and schools facing steeper cuts, the board was reluctant to spend the money on the agencies and decided to keep Evancho on as interim superintendent for another year.

In last month's school board meeting, Evancho said the service available to the district for finding a new superintendent could cost a few thousand dollars to more than $10,000.

Before Monday's vote, Evancho welcomed open discussion and said not to spare his feelings.

"I do feel good about what I do. It's a pleasant place to come to work," Evancho said. "I don't know if I'm the answer or not, but I'm willing to work on it."

Mary Ann Bennett said not a lot of applicants fit the needs of the school system.

"We wouldn't be getting someone with the experience we need at this point," Bennett said. "It's crucial that we have someone with financial knowledge, with the state budget being what it is."

Evancho said the budget situation is a dilemma in the state.

"We're going to have to be upbeat, and we'll just have to do it," Evancho said. "The cuts will be severe. We have to remain excited about presenting education and staying positive. Most of us will be in the same boat across Kansas. They won't let us all go under."

Kansas legislators cut more than $168 million in state aid to public schools during the 2009-10 school year, including $4 million that went directly to special education funding.

The Kansas Legislative Research Department is estimating a $411 million shortfall in general funds in education to achieve a zero-ending balance during the 2011 fiscal year.

In other new business, the Holcomb board reviewed a facility use agreement policy that determines who can use the USD 363 facilities and who must pay a fee to use the facilities.

The board heard from Brian Rupp, who has used and paid for the facilities twice recently for a fifth-grade basketball team. Rupp didn't know which category youth basketball fit under in the policy of groups that pay and groups that don't.

The board agreed to review the policy and take possible action at its next meeting.

Other business at Monday night's meeting included:

  • Approval for Garden City Community College to use classrooms at Holcomb High School for summer classes.
  • Authorization of USD 363 credit card use for the clerk of the board and business manager. The credit card had been authorized to the superintendent,
  • Tabling a decision on whether a fifth-grade teacher who did not fulfill her contract would be paid the $4,500 she had earned in sick days.

Evancho talked about hiring a fifth-grade teacher, but Phil Keidel, elementary school principal, said he hadn't found any quality candidates with whom he would be comfortable giving a contract.

Keidel said better candidates may be found in the fall graduates of area and state teaching schools.

The next Holcomb school board meeting will be 6:30 p.m. Dec. 14. The public meetings take place at the Administration Center, 305 Wiley St.