Rockford schools to put bond issue to voters in November

The Rockford Area Schools Board of Education, July 16 took action to put a bond forward at the general election in Novembe, and approved a new contract for Superintendent Paul Durand.




Following a failed bond attempt in February of this year, the board approved hiring an outside consultant to contact district residents in an effort to compile a demographic analysis of area voters, including opinions related to additional district support through a future referendum.

Don Lifto of Springsted Inc, which collaborates with the Center for Community Opinions, presented the finding of the survey.

Lifto explained that 250 random subjects completed the phone survey in which they were asked to rate the importance of line items related to maintenance, improvements and programs in the district as well as their overall support in funding them. The majority of callers indicated that they would be in favor of supporting additional funding if necessary. During the course of these conversations, Lifto said that additional information was given to the participants regarding the district, and that this raised the level of support in most instances.

The board, upon further discussion, did vote unanimously to put a referendum to the voters for approximately $27 million (an amount close to what it previously attempted to levy for) in November.

The board will meet in a special session Monday, Aug. 6, at 8 p.m. to discuss details of the proposed referendum including how to ask for the funding, with one or more questions.





In other news, Ted Botten, Board Chair, read a prepared statement regarding the review process that was used in evaluating Superintendent Paul Durand’s job performance for the 2011-12 school year.

Board members, in a closed session in June, asked questions individually of Durand as they pertained to the goals previously set by them. Information gathered from outside sources including parents, teachers and staff and community members was also exchanged. The overall results of the appraisal ranked Durand’s performance at a score of 4.77 out of a possible 5, putting him in the “very good to outstanding” ranking.

This is an overview of the goals set for Duran for 2011-12 (specific details regarding each are not included here but are available).

• Encouraged others to share ideas and concerns by listening openly to all viewpoints and summarize information for the board of Education as needed. Set clear expectations and manageable workloads for staff.

• Reviewed and oversaw planning of staff expectations and knowledge in technology, assessments and graduation requirements. The Superintendent will provide information to the Board of Education by sharing the pros and cons, as well as the short and long-range consequences of pending decisions.

• Worked to strengthen positive relationships and built trust through increased communication opportunities.

• Synthesized a strategy to deal with anticipated monetary shortfalls. Continued to build positive public and internal support for long-range goals including increased student enrollment and referendum possibilities.

The board approved performance compensation in the amount of $4,320 as a result of Durand’s performance in regard to the these goals.

Moving forward, a new contract was offered to Durand for the next three school years (2013-14 through 2015-16) that includes a two-percent annual salary increase and five additional vacation days. If Durand authors successful grants, he will earn 7% of the grant in payment with an annual cap of $10,500. This action was 5-1 by board members, with Todd Anderson in opposition.

Future goals set by the board for Durand include to concentrate on high student achievement, fiscal responsibility and efficient and effective operations.

The next regular meeting of the Rockford School Board is Monday, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the district boardroom located on the lower level of Rockford Middle School.