Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

October 3, 2018 Superintendent sharing works but needs tweaks
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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The Lone Tree and Highland school boards met together Sept. 26.

The big topic: The arrangement where the two districts share a superintendent.

The verdict: It is working, but the relationship is young and needs to be reviewed throughout the year.

The biggest complaint came from Highland school board members who said the time split for Superintendent Ken Crawford between the two districts is not sustainable in the long run.

The agreement by the two districts splits Crawford’s time 80 percent for the Lone Tree district and 20 percent for the Highland district. He started the position July 1.

“In the end, 20 percent will not work,” Highland board President Nate Robinson said.

Other Highland board members echoed his opinion, but all agreed that in the short time of the sharing situation, it is working.

“It’s working now, but in the long-term, it’s not going to work,” Robinson said. “I don’t think anyone expected it to be perfect.”

Crawford started the meeting by presenting a survey of teachers’ and administrators’ opinions reviewing how well the sharing is working.

Most respondents – at both Lone Tree and Highland schools – stated they did not see any difference between this year and last. Most said they did not see any negative effects of the sharing arrangement.

Some even said they had forgotten that there was a sharing arrangement.

A couple of comments from Highland – all were anonymous – noted that Crawford has not been seen in classrooms as often as former Highland Superintendent Mike Jorsensen was.

The Highland school board has attempted to address that issue.

The board has retained Jorgensen as a consultant. He regularly visits both the elementary school and middle and high schools to fill the gaps of having a superintendent dedicated only 20 percent of the time in Highland.

Crawford noted that last year, Jorgensen worked as a half-time superintendent in the district. This year, he has been retained for eight hours per week, so between Crawford and Jorgensen the time commitment in Highland is a little less than last year.

The two are working to divide administrative duties to ensure that important tasks are covered, Crawford said.

“This is still in its infancy,” he said.

Board members from both districts were positive about the experience to date and plan to meet again in November and assess the sharing arrangement.

“Overall, it looks pretty positive, and what’s not is fixable,” Lone Tree board member Joel Yedlik said.

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