Lawrence school board’s busy agenda includes hiring of superintendent search firm, bond sale, teachers’ contract

Lawrence Public Schools district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.

With two weeks to study three proposals, the Lawrence school board is expected at its meeting Monday to choose a firm to help find the district’s next superintendent.

Three search firms gave presentations to the board at its Aug. 28 meeting. Board members agreed to postpone a decision until its next meeting so they could more thoroughly study the three proposals.

The decision on the search firm is part of a busy Monday agenda, which includes consideration of the district’s 2017-2018 teachers’ contract with the Lawrence Education Association, a $43.2 million bond sale and a lease-purchase agreement to develop the district’s new 23rd Street maintenance yard. The board also will have a work session to wrap up a July discussion on annual goal setting.

The three superintendent search firms the board is considering are Ray and Associates Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; School Exec Connect, of Highland Park, Ill.; and Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates, of Schaumburg, Ill. Representatives from all three firms told the board last month their selection would come with a one-year guarantee, which commits each firm to conducting a second search at no cost to the district should the hired superintendent not stay for a second year for any reason.

Each firm’s presentation included a promise to tailor the search to the board and community’s needs and to develop a profile used to recruit candidates. All three firms indicated the profile would be developed from board member interviews, an online survey posted on the district’s website and community input from stakeholder focus groups and a community forum.

Included in the presentations were base fees for the search of $22,000 for Ray and Associates; $23,000 for Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates; and $18,500 plus an expense charge not to exceed $2,650 for School Exec Connect. However, each firm also included a menu of other services that would add to the cost should the board choose to include them.

The board’s goal is to hire a new superintendent in February. The new superintendent’s first day with the district will be July 1, 2018.

Other board business items include:

• Authorizing the sale of $43.5 million of general obligation bonds. It’s the first bond sale to come before the board from the $87 million bond issue that voters approved in a May referendum. In making the decision, the board is to consider the results a competitive bid opening from earlier in the day.

Most of the revenue from the latest bond issue is to be used on projects for the district’s secondary schools. Renovations and additions totaling $50.8 million are planned for Lawrence High School.

• Consider a proposed teachers’ contract that would increase each teacher’s base pay by $2,310 per year and add salary increases for years of service and additional education at a cost of $3.15 million to the district. The district would also increase its contribution for teachers’ fringe benefits by $20.12 per employee at a total cost of $260,621.

• Consider a lease-purchase agreement totaling $5.33 million with KBS Constructors Inc. to develop the district’s new maintenance yard at 711 E. 23rd St.The company is to provide construction management services for site work, demolition of some existing structures, renovations of others and construction of a warehouse and a facilities and operations building.

The school board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday for a goal-setting work session at district offices, 110 McDonald Drive.