The Seminole County School Board has initiated a search for a new superintendent to replace retiring superintendent Dr. Bill Vogel. In this feature we will discuss the selection process with the search coordinator, SCPS Human Resources Director John Reichert. You will also hear from members of the Community Superintendent Search Advisory Committee who were chosen as community representatives to assist in evaluating the applicants. Mr. Reichert will explain how the public can offer input about the candidates for superintendent. Length: 18:33
In 1990, Seminole County voters approved a change from an elected to an appointed superintendent for public schools. The school board has the responsibility of selecting the new chief administrator of the district. In 1992, after a national search, Dr. Paul Haggerty was chosen as the first appointed superintendent. He served for 11 years. A second extensive search selected Dr. Bill Vogel who has served for 9 years.
Under Dr. Vogel, the Seminole County School District has been rated A for the last four years, parent surveys show a satisfaction rate of 95%, Seminole County students earned the highest scores of any Central Florida district in FCAT reading and math and the graduation rate exceeds 90%. The excellence of the schools makes Seminole County a magnet for families and businesses moving to the area.
But since 2008 funding for the district has declined. Property tax revenues have shrunk with the drop in home values and state funds per pupil have been reduced dramatically. Since 2008, Seminole County Public Schools have lost $1,039 per pupil in funding. The employees have been reduced by 700 positions including an almost 20% cut in the district office staff. Recent figures show that the current budget shortfall could reach $30 to 40 million. Without new revenues, additional cuts including school closings may be necessary.
These are the conditions both upside and downside that will face the new superintendent. The new leader will manager a budget of $468 million, almost 8,000 employees and 64,000 students. The applicant will be offered a three year contract with a salary in the $130,000 range and additional benefits.
For the students and families of Seminole County, these challenging circumstances make the selection of the next superintendent a crucial decision with consequences that reach far into the future.
Dr. Wayne Blanton of the Florida School Board Association told the Seminole County school board as they began their search that “there is no more important decision you will make as a school board.”
The school board began the process in Sept of 2011 and will make their final decision in April of 2012.
Rather than hiring an outside consultant to manage the search, the school board selected one of the district’s most experienced administrators to coordinate the process. John Reichart is Director of Human Resources and Personnel Staffing. The board then initiated an advertising campaign to attract qualified applicants. Next they created the Community Superintendent Search Advisory Committee made up of citizens of organizations and leaders selected by each board member to provide assistance and input. The board will make their final choice from 5 candidate finalists.
At every stage the process is open to the public who may attend meetings of the board, the advisory committee and even request to see the applications. A reception will be held with the 5 finalist so that any resident may come and meet the candidates and share their opinion.
CMF Public Media podcasts featuring Seminole County Public School issues
- School Budget Cuts (11/10/2011)
- Starting School on a Shoestring (08/31/2011)
- Teaching in Hard Times: Commentary (09/08/2011)
- Commentary: Making Decisions in the Best Interests of Our Students (05/12/2011)
John Reichert with Desta Horner
Director of Human Resources and Personnel Staffing, Seminole County Public Schools
Length – 37:31