Last night, the BCSD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend Dr. Lonnie Barber’s contract, a package worth around $200,000/yr, for another year. This decision came after much public comment noting consistently mediocre BCSD SAT scores in spite of yearly spending approximately $20,000/student/year. The public comment also questioned the quality of the administration’s oversight of the McKinstry construction work; disagreements about this work has led to the current lawsuit between the BCSD administration and McKinstry.
The Trustees stated that the evaluation process of Barber’s work had been long an innovative. New this year, the Trustees hired a firm to conduct interviews with district and school administrators to get a broader, fuller picture of Barber’s job performance and the working climate around him. According to the Trustees, this firm stated that the climate of the BCSD district office and its relations with school administrators is one of “collaboration, community and family” and that the findings by this firm were “all positive.”
After a motion to extend Barber’s contract was seconded, Trustee Nurge addressed the public comment made via email and in person to the Trustees concerning this decision. He noted that people claimed that our students were “performing dismally” and replied that he didn’t at all believe that to be the case and that the residents of Blaine County are indeed receiving “full value for the money spent” through the education given to our students. Trustee Bates stated that he had “felt like a punching bag for the previous two days.” He took to task claims that the students’ SAT performance demonstrated that the students’ full potential was not being reached. He stated that such claims “reflect upon all of us,” referring to himself and his fellow Trustees, “as well as everyone in the district.” He stated that he and his fellow Trustees tirelessly worked “hours and hours” for the good of our students. He appeared to be somewhat personally affronted.
There were no concerns or reservations about Barber’s job performance expressed by the Trustees during this meeting. While Trustee Nurge noted that there is “always room for improvement,” all of the Trustees’ discussion and comments regarding Barber’s job performance were positive. After the discussion about the evaluation process and a lengthy response to the public comment received, the Trustees proceeded to approve the motion to extend Dr. Barber’s contract another year by unanimous roll-call vote.
During the final public comment portion of the BCSD Board of Trustees Meeting, Sherry Thomas praised the thorough inclusion and involvement of all the administrators within the district in evaluating the Superintendent. She urged the Trustees in future Superintendent evaluations to include patron involvement – the residents of Blaine County. The full webcast of the meeting can be seen at BCSD’s EduVision.
updated 3/13/2013 at 4:55pm