Up to $50K OK’d for search for district head

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The ConVal School District will spend up to $50,000 on a search for a new superintendent, according to Assistant Superintendent Kimberly Saunders.

After public discussion of both topics at its meeting Tuesday, the ConVal School Board entered a nonpublic session to continue dialogue on the topics of the superintendent search and the district’s food service contract.

The board emerged with two votes: They unanimously accepted the food service contract with Cafe Services for the 2016-2017 school year; and they voted to authorize administration to hire, with up to $50,000, a company to conduct a search for the new superintendent.

Asked how much the food services contract is for, Saunders referred the question to Business Administrator Marian Alese, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

During the public meeting, Peterborough representative to the board Richard Dunning brought the Budget & Property Committee’s request for a vote on spending up to $50,000 to hire a company to do a superintendent search.

But Antrim representative Rich Cahoon questioned why, saying a decision had already been made to hold off on conducting the search until winter. He also questioned the amount of money proposed for the search.

“Manchester just allocated $25,000, so why do we need $50,000?” Cahoon asked. “We should go into nonpublic for this. The last decision was in nonpublic.”

In October, Superintendent Brendan Minnihan announced he was leaving the district at the end of the school year; he has been hired to lead the Laconia School District. Saunders was named Minnihan’s interim replacement.

As to the timeline for the superintendent search, Saunders said Wednesday that the company hired would work with the school district on setting it. A message left for board Chair Myron Steere, the Greenfield representative, was not returned by press time.

Food services

Dunning also brought the food services contract with Cafe Services to the board for a vote, but the board wanted to discuss the matter in nonpublic first. During the public session, the board discussed food quality.

Hancock representative to the board Pierce Rigrod made several motions to review the quality of foods offered as part of the district’s food service contract, as well as foods offered outside the program as part of fundraisers and the like. But the motions failed to generate consensus.

Rigrod said his concern was just how well the district’s wellness policy and federal regulations are being followed, and suggested the Wellness Committee take a look at that. He was particularly focused on a la carte menu items, such as hamburgers and pizza, available in the cafeteria. Saunders said the committee is made up of district staff and the review would be beyond its expertise. Business Administrator Marian Alese said the contract with Cafe Services calls for an advisory committee, which could look at the issue.

Steere asked the district administration to offer some suggestions about how to proceed and the board voted to table the discussion for now.