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School board reviews one proposal from consultant firm, agrees to hear in-depth presentation before making decisions

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Board Chair Phil Lager speaks during a Scappoose School District School Board meeting on Monday, July 10. During the meeting, the board discussed what it's next steps should be in the search for a new superintendent after Stephen Jupe signed a resignation agreeement with the district in late June.The Scappoose School District board began preliminary discussions earlier this week about the process it will follow to find a new superintendent.

After the departure of former Superintendent Stephen Jupe, who resigned from the district effective June 30, the school board held its first meeting of the new fiscal year on Monday, July 10, to discuss its next steps, including how to conduct a search for an interim or permanent superintendent.

On June 28 the board accepted a resignation letter from Jupe, who had been on medical leave the prior month. The resignation comes one year before his contract expires in 2018.

In mid-May, the school board held an executive session to conduct his annual performance evaluation. Two weeks later, while Jupe was on medical leave, the board voted to pursue a separation agreement with him.

Details of the resignation agreement dated June 21 outline several salary and health benefits the district will continue to pay until December, or until Jupe secures other full-time employment.

During the board meeting Monday, the school board reviewed a proposal from Greg McKenzie, an executive search consultant with NextUp Leadership. The proposal outlined three options for conducting a superintendent search over the next year. The search options range in price from $600 to $8,750, not including expenses, depending on the depth of involvement.

Many board members agreed the proposal left many unanswered questions, including how costs compared to previous searches and what constitutes additional expense.

The board asked acting Superintendent Ron Alley to arrange for an in-person presentation from McKenzie regarding the services.

Board chair Phil Lager added that the board should take time to fully review the proposal document, which was provided to the board immediately prior to the meeting, before making any major decisions. Historically, the Scappoose School District has used the Oregon School Boards Association to conduct superintendent searches, but the association no longer offers those services, Lager noted.

Alley, who was promoted to the director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and secondary education at the recommendation of Jupe in November, was tapped by the board in June to serve as acting superintendent in Jupe's absence.

During discussions Monday, board member Jim Hoag noted that the search for an interim superintendent should begin sooner rather than later. Hoag argued that asking Alley to take on two lead administrative roles within the district for an undetermined amount of time would be challenging.

"I think Ron is doing a heck of a job, but expecting Ron to continue acting as the interim superintendent and do the job we hired him for, is like taking the traffic engineer at a business and asking him to do the job of the CFO because the CFO left," Hoag said. "It doesn't make any sense to me."

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