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Superintendent search resumes in Fulton

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

FULTON – Just when River Bend School Board officials thought they had found a new leader for their school district, complications with contract negotiations have brought the group back to the drawing board.

School Board President Dan Portz on Thursday announced a decision to reopen the superintendent search after the board and their selected candidate, Laura Nelson, could not agree on contract stipulations.

Portz chose not to divulge details as to why the board and Nelson could not agree and simply stated “we did not reach a mutual agreement on the contract.”

The board is now reopening the search once again with Illinois School Board Association consultant Donna Johnson, in the hopes that she will have a new selection of candidates by the beginning of April.

As the July 1 deadline for replacing the district’s current superintendent Chuck Holliday looms, Portz and the board are feeling a bit of a time crunch.

“We want to do our due diligence,” Portz said. “We’re not going to race through it just to pick somebody because we need somebody. There’s several options we can do if something comes up.”

While their search and interview process will remain the same as it was for Nelson, one change has been made to the search criteria.

During the first round of searching, the board felt confident setting the candidate’s base salary at $98,000. Now, as they go into the second round, they have increased that base to between $105,000 to $125,000.

With the reopening of the search, candidates will have until March 27 to apply for the position, with interviews beginning as early as April and a final selection announcement expected by early May.

If they are unable to find a selection by June 30, the River Bend School Board will be required to appoint an interim superintendent, which Portz said the ISBA would assist with, a point they are hoping to avoid.

“We’re going to be positive and say we’re not planning to use them at this time,” he added.

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