Wrenshall pivots to full-time superintendent search
To remain competitive in its superintendent search and to attract more applicants, the Wrenshall School Board decided to change its job posting.
WRENSHALL — To be more competitive to prospective superintendent applicants, the Wrenshall School Board decided Monday, March 20 to update its superintendent posting to a full-time position.
Board member Mary Carlson, who was a part of a group that went to the Capitol for Minnesota School Board Association Day, said that was an overwhelming consensus from attendees.
“I heard from two separate individuals that if we have more than one option on our job posting that it makes it confusing for applicants and they are not sure what we are looking for," she said.
Carlson also heard from board members across the state who advised her that the district should be looking for a full-time superintendent.
"In this competitive market with superintendents, we need to be asking for full-time superintendents," she said. "I was surprised by that feedback."
Officials previously sought someone to work half-time, three days per week and in a mixed role of superintendent and principal for the opening. During an update later in the meeting, the board heard that it has only received one applicant for the position, with the posting open until March 31.
Carlson clarified that her suggestion was a response for the need to be competitive, not the limited applicant pool, but hopes it will now bring in more applicants. Board members Eric Ankrum and Ben Johnson, who also attended the day at the Capitol, shared the same conclusions as Carlson.
Board Chair Nicole Krisak said officials know that moving from a half-time to full-time superintendent will cost the district more; however, she said she believes it is the right move for the district. The district has not had a full-time superintendent, and Krisak said she thinks it will help with leadership and the overall direction the board is moving in.
"It is something this district has been missing," she said.
Angela Lind, the district's business manager, said the change would put an added expense back in the budget. According to figures Lind sent to the Cloquet Pine Journal on Tuesday, March 21, the move would add $87,000 to the existing budget deficit.
Board members have until June 30 to approve the budget for the next year, but they have already seen projections based on enrollment. Each of the budget projections included a general fund deficit ranging from $325,000 to $125,000, dependent on enrollment of 320 to 347 students.
The board has approved reductions amounting to $383,000; however, the board is looking to achieve a net savings of $500,000.
Lind also advised officials not to budget for high enrollment, but rather to be more conservative. Lind would like the board to adopt a budget that is 10-12 students below projected enrollment figures.
In terms of the updated budget, Lind also cautioned that the cost savings are overstated. While certain cuts have already been approved, some of the positions will need to be filled in some fashion, including Lind’s role as business manager.
Board members planned to hold a special meeting at the end of the month to make more cuts; however, after the day at the Capitol, they decided to wait until next month to have a clearer sense of how state funding will come through.