Superintendent search option could save money

Monday, February 4th 2008, 12:04 am
By: News 9

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

Oklahoma City schools are once again looking for a reliable and trustworthy Superintendent, but the search may come at a hefty price. A possible alternative to a high-dollar, high-profile job hunt could be the solution to the replacement process.

The Oklahoma State School Boards Association is willing to help Oklahoma City avoid another school district debacle and save money along the way.

Few would argue Dr. John Porter's problems have put dark clouds over the Oklahoma City Public School system.

"Things like that just sometimes happen," Dr. June Ehinger of OSSBA said.

Dr. June Ehinger is willing to help bring sunnier skies to the troubled district.

"Because the children deserve the best," Ehinger said. "All the children deserve the best."

Dr. Ehinger and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association is already helping Stillwater, Enid and Putnam City school districts' search for new superintendents.

The OSSBA is a non-profit group that helps school boards search for qualified superintendent candidates.

"We think we bring experience and knowledge to the process for the board," Ehinger said.

There is a fee for the services, but Ehinger says it's nowhere near the costs some school districts, like Oklahoma City, will pay for a commercial search firm.

"That's an issue we always discuss, ‘Do the search firms really do a better job that we do?'" Ehinger said.

Either way, Ehinger says every school board should use exercise the same caution when looking for a new leader. Boards should conduct background checks, look for resume fluffing and get the community involved.

"The Superintendent is one of the most important people in that school district," Ehinger said.

Now is the time for Oklahoma City to wipe the slate clean and move forward. Ehinger says she's willing to make sure the next leader is one Oklahoma City parents and students can be proud of.

"That's why we'd like to help them, if they'd just give us a call," Ehinger said.

At this point, we don't know if the Oklahoma City school board will use another commercial search firm for Dr. Porter's replacement.

Oklahoma City Superintendent John Porter and chairman of the school board Cliff Hudson both resigned last month as part of a settlement agreement.

The District Attorney's office is looking into whether or not Porter broke any laws during his stay in office.