For the past few months, each time the Payson Unified School District board has faced a decision that involves spending money, it has balked — except when it came to searching for an interim superintendent.
At its Dec. 6 meeting, the board unanimously and easily voted to look for someone to replace former superintendent Ron Hitchcock, who will leave by Dec. 31.
The board only struggled with dates for keeping the position posted and an interview schedule.
“ASBA (Arizona School Board Association) has a service — I think it is a free service,” said board president Barbara Underwood. “They have interim superintendents on staff, they can post openings for an interim superintendent, you can go with a national search, or more local.”
“Open it up for in-state in Arizona for seven days, and then a week from Thursday and make a decision,” said board member Rory Huff.
“That’s quick and fast and statewide,” said Devin Wala.
But Shirley Dye had a concern.
“Are we neglecting to look at the possibilities within our community?” she said.
Her question made the five members stop and think.
Then Director of Technology Joni de Szendeffy spoke up and said the process need not be rushed because the district has a strong leadership team.
Abruptly, the board decided to keep the post open until the end of December, review candidates the first week in January and start the interview process by Jan. 6.
At its last meeting of the year on Dec. 16, the board approved letting Director of Student Achievement Brenda Case sign on accounts. Case’s job description includes a provision that allows her to fill in as superintendent.
However, the elephant in the room wears a vest labeled, “Interim Superintendent Salary.” The board has not publicly stated a salary range for the new position, but it will pay former Superintendent Ron Hitchcock $58,000 for the remaining six months on his contract.