Tone it down

By Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

After Frankie Poplau resigned as superintendent five years ago, a superintendent search that cost thousands of dollars was conducted and produced several good candidates. Board members had a difficult time agreeing on which candidate was the best and eventually, the job was offered to three different candidates, all of whom turned down the job.

Eventually, the board chose an interim superintendent - again with a split vote - and Jim Rouse was chosen to lead the district until a permanent superintendent could be found. Rouse made no secret that he wanted to prove himself, and less than a year after joining the district, he was given a contract.

Less than a year later, Rouse had fallen out of favor with the board and was headed to Iowa and the board found themselves again looking for a new leader.

This time, board members voted unanimously to offer the job to Craig Menozzi. Menozzi at first accepted, but a difficult contract negotiation led to his announcing he was not going to take the job. Eventually, the two sides came to an agreement.

It has been nearly three years since Menozzi signed on, and many good things have happened in the district, both in student achievement and in financial management. However, since last summer the relationship between the board and superintendent soured. Emails between some board members indicate a vendetta against the superintendent.

Now, with Menozzi's resignation, New Prague is faced with its third superintendent search in five years. With the district's track record over the past years, it's going to be difficult to attract good candidates to apply for this job. Furthermore, a concerned citizens group has come out and said that they don't trust this board to make the hire and won't support anyone that the board hires. Some have gone so far as to say they would tell potential candidates as much during the interview process.

Representatives from both sides have said that they are doing this for the kids. If that's the case, both sides should tone down the rhetoric and think about how their actions not only affect the kids' education, but also think about the example they are setting for the kids.

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