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Portage issues statement on Superintendent's search

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PORTAGE (WKZO) -- The Portage Board of Education will be changing their strategy and their methodology as they reopen their search for a new Superintendent to new candidates.(you can read the district’s statement below)

It follows complaints from the public about transparency and differences over the interpretation of the open meetings act, which all became moot when their leading candidate, Dr. Gary Gregg withdrew his application.

Portage Trustees have had their work cut out for them. 

Any search for a Superintendent these days is complicated by a shortage of available and experienced candidates. Most Superintendents who are of a certain age would rather ride out their current jobs to retirement.

It’s an exceedingly difficult job that requires long hours, huge demands, and more and more in Michigan, trying to keep the ship afloat while slashing at the budget. Out of state candidates aren’t interested in Michigan for that reason.

Many may fear if they do switch jobs, they won’t be able to sell their homes. And younger Superintendents, like Dr. Gregg have their family’s wishes to consider.

The District’s Executive Search Consultant, Jim Morris also apparently told trustees that Portage Schools in particular has a reputation for its “demanding parents” and “Media drama”, making it less attractive to the higher quality candidates.  Any Google search of Portage Schools will also provide details on the friction between the board and their last two Superintendents. 

They have reopened the application window through the end of the month, but will apparently drop plans to personally recruit candidates, leaving that to their consultant. 

THE DISTRICT'S STATEMENT:

From Interim Supt. Rob Olsen:On Monday, May 6, the board of trustees reviewed an attorney-client privileged communication regarding the superintendent search.Given media reports and differing opinions regarding the search process and the open meetings act we have chosen to move forward with an abundance of caution.Therefore, no members of our board will be making contact with candidates or potential candidates for superintendent before interviewing them in open session, even if requested by a potential candidate.

Our primary goal remains, to hire the absolute best possible candidate to lead Portage Public Schools forward.

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