"I'm not advocating spending more money," Banwart said, just before she advocated for spending more money.
So did Ryan Ray and Dr .William Newman of Ray and Associates, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, based search firm.
"We don't want you to be a training ground," Ray said. "The average stay for a superintendent is three years. If they come in at $160,000, they may come in and jump." Ray added the board should "make (the pay) good enough where the person would want to stay here a couple of years."
Both Ray and Newman recommended paying $200,000 for the new superintendent. "For your district and the shape and issues you've got to have $200,000," Newman said.
The board discussed the kinds of candidates that could be attracted if the salary was lower than $200,000, including administrators from smaller school districts. Surprisingly, no one mentioned that the district went that route in 2007 when it hired a new superintendent from the smaller Eldon district, C. J. Huff, for $160,000.
A discussion was also held on what type of superintendent the district needs. Banwart said she was looking for someone with business experience, while Board President Jeff Koch opted for someone with more of an educational presence.
It was noted that the five-year plan that the board approved recently would provide the new superintendent with a basic structure for education and Ridder will also be concentrating on classroom and curriculum during his final year. That framework would enable the incoming superintendent to concentrate more on finances.
But he or she will also face other problems. Board member Debbie Fort said, "We need someone who can rebuild the trust," a reference to the problems the district had during the era when it was guided by Huff and Assistant Superintendent Angie Besendorfer.
The $200,000 annual salary was too much for board member Lori Musser, who noted she did not want to be at Wal-Mart and have to explain to a teacher why the district was paying $200,000 for a superintendent when its teachers are being paid below those in neighboring districts.
Board member Chris Sloan said he also had problems with paying that much.
The board rejected a motion to set the salary at $190,000, then approved, by a 6-1 margin, an $180,000 salary, with Banwart, who wanted to pay more, casting the dissenting vote.