VALPARAISO | The search for a new superintendent of Valparaiso Community Schools officially begins today.
Interim Superintendent Michael Berta recently announced he will step down Aug. 6, the end of his second year as the "temporary" replacement. At Thursday's School Board meeting, Board President Mark Maassel said the board will begin accepting public input today on who the next superintendent should be.
Maassel said he would like to see the board choose a new superintendent by late March or April. To begin the process, the district's electronic suggestion box will be opened today to receive public input on the skills, personality, training and other qualities people want the new superintendent to have.
The board will then hold a public discussion at its Feb. 6 meeting to hear comments. Anticipating the session could attract a large crowd, Maassel said the board is looking for a larger location for the meeting than the administrative offices. It is tentatively set for Benjamin Franklin Middle School, but residents were advised to check with the school's website for the final word.
To help with the public meeting and the overall process of choosing the new person, the board agreed to Maassel's suggestion of hiring Organizational Development Solutions as a facilitator.
He said the early deadline for making the choice will help in the transition to a new administration.
"I like your timeline," board member Paul Knauff said.
The board also agreed to send a letter to Gov. Mike Pence and the Indiana General Assembly objecting to Pence's proposed elimination of the inventory tax on businesses. Sharon Qualkenbush, the district's chief financial officer, said Valparaiso Community Schools could lose about $1.1 million the tax is eliminated.
Board member Jim Jorgensen said the letter should state the board's support for promoting job growth, but that it should not be at the expense of schools and should only be adopted if a corresponding tax that generates as much money and is as secure as the inventory tax is also approved.