NPS begins search for new superintendent
The Nome Public Schools Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, March 6 in the Nome Elementary School Library. Action items for the meeting included approval of the superintendent search, a resolution to join Alaska’s Education Challenge, as well as some cost savings with a new audit company and renewed maintenance contract. The board also reviewed the third draft of the fiscal year 2019 budget.
The board approved to initiate the search for a new district superintendent to replace Shawn Arnold. Arnold announced his resignation late February. He will continue employment until June 2018.
The superintendent search will be conducted using the services of the Alaska Association of School Boards (AASB), who will help the board select the best candidates from a pool of applicants from around the state. The board will then choose the top applicants to fly to Nome for meetings and interviews. The AASB job search has a small window, closing on March 23, to allow NPS to select and hire a new superintendent as soon as possible.
Nome Public Schools approved a resolution stating their support of Alaska’s Education Challenge, which is headed by the Governor’s Office and state Education Commissioner Michael Johnson. The Challenge is a statewide initiative with goals to address achievement gaps in education and increase graduation rates.
Board members agreed to a small change in the wording of the district’s resolution, acknowledging support of the state’s efforts, but also reflecting the past and present work of NPS. Superintendent Arnold and board members agreed that NPS already has a head start on the challenge.
In his superintendent report, Arnold presented the board with the third draft of the FY19 budget. Business Manager Genevieve Collins reported via telephone, explaining only a slight change from the second draft. Board members asked Arnold for specific dates on when they should make their opinions and suggested changes known for the budget.
The district will meet with Nome City Council on March 19 to present the budget. On March 28, a public budget meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at Nome Elementary. Board members agreed that they would ask for suggestions and make any motions for changes at the April 3 regular meeting. The board will hold a special meeting on April 17 to officially adopt the new budget.
While the district prepares to be flat-funded from the state of Alaska, with only a few glimmers of hope regarding a possible increase in the Base Student Allocation (the amount of money the district gets per student enrolled) or a bill that would separate the education budget from the rest of the state budget, they wait with bated breath to hear how much the City of Nome will contribute.
“We’re asking for the operating budget, $2.5 million, that’s what we asked for last year,” said Arnold during last Tuesday’s meeting. “At the initial city-board session, the comment about not giving us what we’re asking for our operating budget and taking money out to earmark major maintenance projects that the city has identified as needed, is kind of creating an unknown.”
“The March 28 public meeting is really a forum to let the public know, and parents know, this is what’s going to be the potential loss – this is what’s going to be the impact,” continued Arnold. “Our board understands that, and our representatives in Juneau understand that… but really it comes down to voicing at the city level, and what is the community willing to sacrifice.”
Pinching every penny possible, board members agreed to use a new audit company, which would save $47,000 over a three-year contract, as well as a renewed contract with NMS for janitorial and maintenance work, which saves the district close to $400,000 per year.
In other news, NPS recognized the following students and staff: Michael Marvin, ACSA January Student of the Month, Guadalupe Callahan, ACSA February Student of the Month, Mya Cross, NBHS Junior High February Student of the Month, Robert “Bobby” Koezuna, NBHS Senior High February Student of the Month, Dan Sullivan, NPS February Teacher of the Month, and Alisha Papineau, NPS February Support Staff Member of the Month.
The board will reconvene for a work session on March 27 at 5:30 p.m.. A public budget meeting will be held on March 28 at 6 p.m. at the Nome Elementary School.