The St. Johns County superintendent selection process is moving quicker than expected, with nine out of 21 applicants advancing into the semifinalist stage.
The list of potential candidates was presented before the School Board Tuesday and motioned for approval. The board also motioned to disband the citizens’ advisory committee, which was set to meet twice more this month.
“We had a good cross section of people representing our community,” said board member Bill Mignon. “They covered so much ground in two hours it was obvious there’s no need for a third meeting.”
The committee was composed of 30 select officials, parents, teachers and leaders who spent the last meeting discussing which candidates will best meet the school district’s needs.
“We are presenting to you, in my opinion, nine superstars,” said Judge John Alexander, the chairman of the committee.
Four of the candidates are national, three are regional and two are district-level.
Dr. Bill Vogel, a consultant for the Florida School Boards Association Superintendent Search Services, said the applicants are currently undergoing background checks.
He said board members will have the opportunity to fine-tune the list of candidates during the workshop meeting Aug. 23 and should prepare a list of questions for potential semifinalists.
The position start date will be no later than January and requires a minimum three-year contract. The salary, which will be negotiated with the final candidates in the fall, will range from $165,000 to $195,000.
Michelle Dillon, president of the St. Johns Education Association president and secretary of the committee, said she felt confident the pool of candidates was chosen wisely.
The broad experience held by committee members, she said, made certain candidates were selected for a variety of reasons.
“We had plenty of different eyes to view with as well as plenty of discussions,” Dillon said. “We accomplished a lot.”
The School Board also approved a $30,127,000 bid for the construction of the new K-8 school in Nocatee set to open in the 2018-19 school year.
According to Paul Rose, the executive director for facilities and operations, the district received four bids with a 3 percent variance between the highest and lowest bidder.
Rose said the bid was for the K-8’s base plan, which would serve approximately 1,000 students. An alternate bid for the K-8’s original plan including a two-story classroom wing, which would serve 1,490 students, was beyond the district’s budget.
The two-story addition, Rose said, can be added in the future when the district is financially prepared.
Funds for the school come from a combination of school impact fees and school concurrency proportionate share mitigation funds.
But Michael Degutis, the chief financial officer, said the district is still $6 million short for the project.
He suggested the district consider short-term cash through borrowing, issuing a series of one-year notes on a short term basis.
The other option, he added, is locking in with one lender for four years. The borrowing would be balanced by future capital outlay millage.
Rose said the bids are reflective of state-wide costs and are subject to inflation.
All across Florida, an increasing shortage of qualified workers has added to cost increases as well.
“The biggest thing affecting Northeast is the lack of skilled workers,” Rose said.
Tim Forson – St. Augustine
Brennan Asplen – St. Augustine
Dr. Phyllis Edwards – Palm Coast
Mark Porter – Key West
Dr. Vicke Cartwright – Windermere
Dr. Ellen Solek – Bristol, Conn.
Dr. Michael Beresford – Fishers, Ind.
Teresa Brown – Greenwood, Ind.
Dr. Elizabeth Alves – Knoxville, Tenn.