The Gilbert Unified School District will hire a facilitator to help gather information about what qualities the community wants in its next superintendent.
The district governing board made the decision by a 3-2 vote Feb. 12.
Superintendent Dave Allison told the board at the end of January that he will retire following the end of his contract on June 30. Allison has served as the district’s leader since 2008.
“What this item is requesting is a professional facilitator to engage the public in dialogue as far as what the public is looking for in qualities for a superintendent,” board president Staci Burk said during the meeting.
The district now has “qualities of a superintendent” as part of its policy, Burk said. But she noted that this allows the community to take another role in the hiring of the next district leader.
A facilitator would cost about $3,000, based on costs for previous facilitators, board members were told.
Board member Lily Tram raised concerns about the costs.
“I’m just a little concerned about spending funding for this. You’re going to hire someone to run a search committee? Right?” she said.
Burk indicated that the board could hire someone later to help lead the search for a superintendent.
“There’s a cost to do things right. There’s a much bigger cost to do things wrong,” board member Daryl Colvin said, explaining his vote.
Board member Julie Smith pointed out that the board was asked during public comment to make the sure the community is involved in the superintendent search.
“We did get comments earlier this evening that we keep this as open and transparent as possible. This is the desire I am hearing. I like the idea of the facilitator and having meetings,” Smith said.
Colvin, Smith and Burk voted for the hiring of a facilitator. Tram and Jill Humpherys voted against the motion.
“My concern is a search consultant can provide this service,” Humpherys said, noting she believes the cost to hire a search consultant will be “$10,000 to $25,000.”
“To fill Dr. Allison’s shoes I think that would be funds well spent to keep us on the course we’re on with high academics and very good financial management,” she said.
The board also approved last week the hiring of facilitators to run two advisory committees it created. One committee will look at surplus space in the district. One will look at possible expansion of Gilbert Classical Academy.
Later in the week, the district posted a notice on its website that it is seeking community members to participate in these two committees.
Earlier this year, the governing board voted to reverse a decision made to close Gilbert Junior High School as a neighborhood campus and move Gilbert Classical Academy to the site.
The seven-year-old academy offers a college-prop program on about half of a former elementary school site at Greenfield and Elliot roads.
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