SD2 superintendent earns high marks

2014-04-22T17:12:00Z 2014-04-23T16:50:05Z SD2 superintendent earns high marksBy ROB ROGERS The Billings Gazette

Superintendent Terry Bouck was given mostly high praise in his first performance evaluation by the Billings School District 2 board at its Monday night meeting. 

Perhaps the highest praise of all, trustees also voted to extend Bouck's contract through June 2017. 

"Terry has done a super job as superintendent," said Trustee Greta Besch Moen. 

Out in the community, "I hear nothing but positive and encouraging comments," said Chairman Allen Halter.

Trustees were asked to grade Bouck's performance on a scale that ranged from "unsatisfactory" to "basic" to "proficient" to "distinguished."

In all, Bouck received 32 "distinguished" ratings, 11 "proficient," 7 "basic" and 2 "unsatisfactory" across six different categories. 

"Terry's doing a fanstastic job," said Trustee Kevin Toohill.

One of Bouck's "unsatisfactory" ratings came from Toohill under the Long-term Planning section of the evaluation. Toohill said the mark was as much a strike against the board as it was against Bouck. 

The board is just as responsible as Bouck for making sure long-term planning happens for the district, he said.

Writing in the evaluation, Toohill added that he has no doubt Bouck is forward-thinking. But he needs to make sure a strategic plan is formalized and written down for board approval.

Many of the comments praised Bouck for the leadership he's brought to the district and the stability he's created in the short amount of time he's been with SD2. Bouck joined the district nearly two years ago.

"Superintendent Bouck continues to be the diligent, passionate and optimistic face of our district," wrote Besch Moen. 

Praising his abilities at the meeting, Halter said simply, "I vote to keep you around as long as you want to stay."

The meeting opened with a pair of music teachers and a parent calling on the board to include auditoriums in the designs of the district's two new middle schools.

Trustees discussed the matter at length Monday night and ultimately voted to approve building schematics that included no auditorium, arguing that the cost was too high and that it would create inequities with Riverside, Castlerock and Will James middle schools, which have no auditoriums.

Adding the auditoriums would increase the price tag on each middle school by over $2 million. 

Trustees also ratified a new contract with the teachers union. The contract will extend two years and secures for teachers a 2 percent raise. With the exception of increases for continuing education and longevity for some teachers, all teachers have had no raise since 2012.

Toohill was involved with the contract negotiations and he praised both sides for their efforts. He said with the contract now in place, the board can focus on matching "our finances to a long-term strategy that focuses on teaching and learning." 

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