Park Hill closer to picking firm to aid in superintendent search

The Park Hill Board of Education will soon choose a consulting firm to help them select a new superintendent. At a closed meeting held last week, the board narrowed its list of search firms from a preliminary list of five to three. In June, the board called for proposals from interested firms. At its July 9 meeting, the board narrowed its list of prospective firms to McPherson and Jacobson, Ray and Associates and School Exec Connect. The board plans to interview these firms at an open meeting scheduled for Thursday, July 16.

Park Hill board president Boon Lee said board members rated each firm’s responses using a set of criteria. Those scores were then compiled and the board chose the three firms it wished to further vet.

“We were pleased with the quality of the responses we received and the value they could add to the search process,” Lee said. “We encourage everyone to attend the meeting on July 16 where we will interview the firms and the meeting on July 23 where we’ll vote on a search firm.”

The Board plans to select a firm at its July 23 meeting and hire a new superintendent by February 2016. The new hire became necessary after the sudden resignation of former superintendent Dr. Scott Springston in April. Assistant superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd was named interim superintendent until a permanent successor to Springston is chosen.

The board also recently approved a $177 million budget for the 2015-16 school year.

Local revenue estimates have been established reflecting a less than 1 percent increase in assessed valuation and with the assumption of maintaining the current operating tax levy of $4.95. To address the capital needs of the district in upcoming years, administration recommends the board shift 20 cents of this operating tax levy from the general fund to the capital projects fund. The board will consider this recommendation at a public hearing in August.

The 2015-16 budget includes $176.7 million in total expenditures, $143.1 in operating expenditures. The projected gap between operating revenue ($138.9 million) and expenditures ($143.1 million) will be funded by district fund balances.

The use of the operating and capital fund balances is part of a long-range financial plan that includes supporting the new operating costs associated with the one-to-one technology program — Future Learners Project (FLiP). The district anticipates deficit budgets through 2017-18, using accumulated fund balances from prior years to offset the deficits.

In 2018-19, the budget will be developed as a balanced budget.