SD2 board moves forward on superintendent evaluations

2014-04-07T20:15:00Z 2014-04-29T06:13:16Z SD2 board moves forward on superintendent evaluationsBy ROB ROGERS rrogers@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

School District 2 trustees will be busy over the next three days as they fill out their evaluations of Superintendent Terry Bouck. 

"We're looking at the deliverables," said Trustee Greta Besch Moen.

The board discussed the evaluation’s format at its planning and development meeting Monday night. Bouck answered questions and highlighted some of his accomplishments. He told the board that ultimately evaluation is about him, but also it’s about his relationship with the board.

“If we're not functioning properly (together), we're not making progress," he said.

From there, the data will be compiled and presented to Bouck on April 14.

The completed evaluation, along with Bouck’s comments, will be presented to trustees and the public at the April 22 board meeting.

Bouck was hired by the board in May 2012 and he has spent much of the time since trying to shrink the district’s overcrowded classrooms and update many of the district’s older schools.

That work led to voters passing a $122 million bond in November that SD2 will use to build two new middle schools and update or renovate the majority of its elementary schools. The additional space created by the new construction will help bring down class size.

Also at the meeting, trustees heard updates on preparations for renovating McKinley and Broadwater elementary schools. They also watched a presentation on the latest design updates for the Heights middle school.

Much of the talk centered on whether the district should budget to build an auditorium for the new middle school. Currently, SD2 has budgeted $29.4 million to build the school. The auditorium would add $2.3 million to that cost.

District CFO Leo Hudetz said it’s possible to budget the additional funds for the auditorium, but it carries an element of risk.

Bouck said if the district builds an auditorium at the Heights middle school it will need to do the same at the West End middle school, because they promised voters equity between the two schools. That would add $4.6 million to the cost of both schools.

“I don’t think we can afford it on our budget,” Bouck told the board.

As the meeting transitioned from planning and development to regular board business, trustees took up the issue of redrawing school boundaries.

The district’s plan is to put together a committee of 20 to 25 people this summer, including parents, district staff, trustees, community members and planning experts to work on the maps.

“They need to be objective thinkers,” Bouck said.

Trustees approved hiring Cropper GIS, the firm the district used last year to undertake its demographic study. Cropper will assist the new committee in redrawing lines and providing mapping and demographic assistance.

The goal is to finish by February 2015, when a final map of boundary changes would go before the board for approval.

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