Kent Barnes announced his impe...
HOLLY, Michigan – As longtime Superintendent Kent Barnes prepares to retire next year, members of the Holly Area Schools Board of Education are already taking steps to find his replacement. Last night, the board selected the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) to formally conduct the search.
In a special board meeting held last week, board members listened to presentations given by MASB and Northstar Staffing, Inc. representatives, detailing how each company would conduct a superintendent search for the district, providing particulars on how the project would be managed, and what total costs for the services would be.
While the processes used by each company were very similar, differences existed in project management philosophies, and pricing.
Using a looser and more flexible style of project management and only including candidates from Michigan, Northstar Staffing, Inc. rendered an estimate of $4,000 plus travel expenses and miscellaneous “add-on services.” MASB’s timeline for the project was more rigid, included qualified out-of-state candidates as well as those from Michigan, and cost twice as much - $8,000 plus travel expenses, food and lodging.
On Oct. 8, board member David Rath initially made the motion to use Northstar Staffing, Inc.’s services. Fellow board member, Linda Blair supported his motion.
Calling both presentations “fairly consistent with one another,” Rath said he believed Northstar Staffing, Inc. promised more expertise for less money.
Board member Michael Newcomb said his only concern with Northstar Staffing, Inc. was the indication that they would also be working on as many as 2 or 3 additional superintendent searches simultaneously, instead of focusing their work solely on finding a new superintendent for Holly Area Schools. Contrary to Northstar Staffing, Inc., MASB guaranteed that it will focus only on finding candidates for the Holly Area School district.
President Tony Mayhew said MASB was more appealing to him because of its promise to adhere to a more rigid timeframe for the search. “Personally, I would prefer to have the timeline more set in stone,” Mayhew said. “It works with our schedule better because we can plan on things going forward, and it puts us into a position of where we know we’ll get there – it will help keep us on track with where we are going.”
Rath objected, stating that he felt it is the board’s responsibility to keep the superintendent search process on track and on time, and reiterated that Northstar Staffing, Inc. came in at half of MASB’s price.
Newcomb said he will be one of the board members to receive MASB training in November on how to choose a new superintendent. “It would be kind of nice to have it all under one roof,” Newcomb said of MASB. “For me, I’ll be one of the individuals going and I will be able to see what the process is and make sure we’re all on track with it.”
Board member Robin Carne also favored MASB, noting that the inclusion of candidates from states other than Michigan was also appealing. Additionally, Carne questioned Northstar Staffing, Inc.’s “add-on” category for pricing, and said in the end, cost between the two companies may not be so different after all.
After Rath’s motion to hire Northstar Staffing, Inc. failed in a vote of 4-1 with Treasurer Kevin Diviney abstaining, Newcomb made a motion to hire MASB. Carne seconded Newcomb’s motion, and the motion passed 5-1 with Rath casting the dissenting vote.
On Tuesday, Superintendent Kent Barnes said a representative from MASB will most likely attend the next board meeting to inform members of the board when the search will commence, and what the timeframe for the process will be.