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Business experience good for school chief to have

2010-03-02T00:00:00Z Business experience good for school chief to have The Billings Gazette
March 02, 2010 12:00 am

Re Billings Gazette of Feb. 16, SD2 board picks 6 finalists for school chief:

“A candidate from Michigan and another from Colorado had extensive superintendent experience. But both come from business backgrounds, so they didn’t have the requisite classroom or principal experience.” Trustee Peter Gesuale asked Vogel if it was wise to rule them out as candidates when it appeared both were definitely qualified to lead the district. “I would tend to agree with you,” Vogel said, “except there’s not a lot of wiggle room” in the state law.

Herein lies the basic fundamental flaw/issue with our school system. With an annual budget of approximately $118 million, 1,819 full-time-equivalent positions (when broken down, this exceeds 2,000 actual employees, 15,500-plus students and 30-plus locations), a school district this size is in essence a huge business. This “business” needs to be run by a businessperson! To have an antiquated rule requiring “requisite classroom” experience narrows the recruiting field and hinders our district’s ability to be successful from the top down. The value of “requisite classroom” experience at this level of management is negligible, especially when looking at candidates with prior superintendent experience!

The School Board members obviously recognize this issue, and yet these highly qualified applicants are eliminated from consideration.

We need to start treating the school systems with a business model, or we will always be asking the public for more and more money and probably be denied multiple times as we have seen in the recent past with SD2.

Garth Quade

Billings

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