Wide interest in Richland schools superintendent job

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldMarch 27, 2013 

More than 10 people have applied to be the Richland School District's superintendent, including current and former superintendents.

Board Chairman Rick Jansons said the board will receive the list of applicants from recruiting agency McPherson & Jacobsen during a closed-door meeting Saturday. The board will decide then who to bring in for initial interviews, which also will be closed to the public.

"We have a large pool," he said.

Jansons said he had few other details about who applied because the recruiters haven't provided details. More information is expected to be released once the board narrows the list to a couple of finalists.

The district has been looking for a new superintendent since the board fired Superintendent Jim Busey in mid-January. Busey was removed after an investigation revealed he violated the morality clause of his contract by conducting a relationship with a district employee. The board also said Busey attempted to paint the district in a bad light because of the board's decision to fire him.

Busey is currently suing the district and each board member for discrimination and improperly firing him and is seeking at least $1 million in damages.

Board members opted to make the early stages of the candidate screenings less public in an attempt to attract more active superintendents to the job. Consultants told the board that an entirely public process could discourage applicants concerned about their job security.

Jansons said initial interviews with candidates selected by the board would likely be April 9 and 10. The board would then choose about three finalists to continue on tours of the district and public interviews in late April.

"(The finalists) are going to be meeting more people then they can imagine," Jansons said.

Also Wednesday night:

-- The district's maintenance staff is looking for a solution to flooring problems on the second level of Jason Lee Elementary School.

Kevin Knodel, executive director of capital projects, said the material directly beneath the tile floor is disintegrating, causing the tiles to bubble.

Knodel said experts are being brought in to look at the issue and he'll bring a suggested fix as soon as possible.

"It could be as simple as putting carpet over the top of it, I don't know yet," he told the board.

-- The board will have a special meeting 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today to discuss aspects of several projects being paid for by the $98 million bond approved by voters in February.

The bond will pay for a new elementary school and new middle school in the areas south and west of Richland, rebuilding three elementary schools in central Richland, replacement of an older wing at Jefferson Elementary School, construction of a new home for the Three Rivers HomeLink alternative school, updates to Fran Rish Stadium and installation of a new heating and cooling system at Chief Joseph Middle School.

The board will discuss school boundaries in south Richland in order to accommodate a new elementary school, how large enrollments should be and the size of spaces in the new schools, among other topics.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402, tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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