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Billings School District 2’s search for a new superintendent has officially begun.

In a special meeting Wednesday night, the board voted to immediately start the search for Superintendent Jack Copps’ replacement and advertise the job nationally with a salary range of $140,000 to $165,000. The application deadline will be Jan. 31.

Notices for the job will be posted immediately in local, state and national media outlets as well as in education trade publications.

Only five of the nine trustees were at the meeting Wednesday. As they discussed the ads, trustee Barbara Bryan, who also sits on the board’s superintendent search committee, talked about wanting to find a way to make sure candidates understood the challenges the district faces without scaring them away from applying. 

“My concern is we ask for the right thing so we get the applicants we want,” she said.

Joel Guthals, a trustee and chairman of the search committee, said those types of concerns could be worked out with the Montana School Boards Association, which will create the ads and conduct the initial search. The district will pay the association $7,500 plus expenses for its services.

By placing ads in early December, Guthals said the board could “get ahead” of other districts also looking for superintendents. The timing, along with offering higher pay, will help the district find a suitable replacement for Copps, he said.

“We want to get some very good candidates, and in order to do so, we need to be very competitive,” he said.

The board also voted to give its three-trustee search committee authority to act autonomously, meaning the committee will no longer need to seek board approval on the decisions it makes.

The search committee met Tuesday afternoon to decide on the salary range and timeline for conducting the search and then reported its actions to the board Wednesday for approval.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or at 406-657-1231.

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