The Plainfield School District is hoping to recruit a new superintendent from a field of local candidates.
Board president Roger Bonuchi said the district has sent letters inviting superintendents from area districts to throw their hats into the ring.
The candidates will vie for a new deputy superintendent position. Whoever is chosen will ultimately replace longtime Superintendent John Harper, who is set to retire in July 2014.
“We consider it a very limited search,” said Bonuchi.
“One of the reasons was that we knew we wanted to pick someone who is from Illinois, who is local to Will County,” Bonuchi added, saying board members want to make sure that whoever replaces Harper understands the state funding situation and the district’s demographics.
Harper, who has been superintendent since 2002, will retire at the end of a 33-year career in District 202.
Two committees — one comprised of District 202 administrators and the other of parents and school staff — will interview the candidates this fall and make their recommendations to the board.
“Our goal is to have our selection made and to offer a contract by December,” Bonuchi said.
He acknowledged that the board’s timeline means the district will be paying salaries to both Harper and the new deputy superintendent at the same time.
Bonuchi said the district will fund the new administrator’s salary using money saved by the departures of four highly paid assistant superintendents, all of whom have been replaced by staffers making lower salaries.
He cited former assistant superintendents Sharon Gronemeyer (student services), John Prince (business and operations), Carmen Acevedo (curriculum and instruction) and Darlene von Behren (administration and personnel).
“Every one of those people made considerably more than the people who are in those positions now,” Bonuchi said.
He declined to give the salary range proposed for the new deputy superintendent.
“I’m not going to reveal that information because it’s part of the contract negotiations and it’s personnel,” Bonuchi said.
He added that a professional superintendent search consultant is helping the district find a replacement for Harper “so we’re doing it legally and fairly.”
District 202 Community Relations Director Tom Hernandez said fees paid to the consultant, Dr. Linda Hanson of School Exec Connect, are capped at $2,500, plus ancillary expenses including the cost of copying documents. He said he did not yet know the total amount Hanson will be paid since she is working through District 202's attorneys, and any costs associated with the search will be part of the district's regular monthly legal bills.
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