The search for Pleasanton school Superintendent John Casey's replacement was set in motion this week as the school board decided to ask consulting firms to bid for conducting a regional, possibly even a national search.
Casey, Pleasantojn's superintendent since 2002, will retire next June at the close of the current school year.
Bob Kingsley, who was asked by the board to advise its members on the procedures to be followed in finding a sucessor for Casey, said an outside search firm can provide services such as developing a master plan for the search, communicating with applicants, preparing promotional materials and helping reach a consensus on selection criteria.
Kingsley, a senior partner at Kingsley Bogard Thompson LLP, said it's common practice these days for school board to use outside firms to help in the search for new top executives. The final determination over who will be hired will be made by the school board after key candidates are interviewed and their backgrounds are checked, he added.
The selection of a search firm would need to be done in public and could take place during a special meeting.
The process of choosing a new superintendent, Kingsley said, could take anywhere from four to seven months and cost $20,000 to $30,000 for the firm to conduct a regional and statewide search. A nationwide search, he added, would cost significantly more.
School board president Chris Grant said the board plans to interview potential consultant firms in the next six weeks and that a candidate would ideally be selected in April or May.
"We expect to have a comprehensive process that will include parents, teachers, school-based staff and community leaders in helping us to define the criteria and characteristics of an ideal superintendent that would be utilized in evaluation of the candidates," he said.
This isn't the first time that Kingsley has worked with the district, as he worked with the district as early as the late 1970s.
"It's an exciting time for the district," Grant said. "John Casey has done a fantastic job, but any time you're hiring a new superintendent it creates opportunities for new ideas and vision and a renewed enthusiasm for academic excellence."
At last Tuesday.s school board meeting, it was also decided to borrow $422,378 from the Sycamore Property Fund to help pay for five portable classrooms, a portable bathroom and mold remediation at Hearst Elementary School. The loan would be paid back with interest over five years.
The fund, which had $5.6 million as of January, came from the sale of a potential high school site near Happy Valley and has typically funded technology for schools.
This year, however, it has been used as a second reserve fund. Last month, the board approved two loans totaling $1,210,089 to help make up for deficits in the cafeteria and capital facilities funds.
Staff and families requested the portable facilities be installed at Hearst to help ease the school site congestion after several rooms remain closed since high levels of mold at the start of the school year.
Grant said this fund should be used as a last resort and the board will review the findings by internal and external experts to consider seeking repayment from the construction company for the remediation costs if they were at fault.