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Superintendent: School system needs stability

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Schlosser is still seeking to move to the community

By Stephen Lega

Superintendent Taylora Schlosser believes the Marion County Board of Education made the right decision by granting her more time to establish residency in Marion County.

Moving to the county is still something she is trying to do.

“It was the right thing to do with respect to the tough housing market at this time,” Schlosser wrote in an email. “By the board extending this, it will allow stability for the school district as I continue to lead. I am the third superintendent in the past five years, and I believe that in order for our community to move forward, our school system needs stability.”

During a June 19 special-called meeting, the school board voted 3-1 in favor of amending Schlosser’s contract to grant an additional 18 months for her to establish residency in the county. Schlosser lives in Washington County at this time. In her original contract, she was given a year to establish residency, and that year would have expired July 11.

With the extension she now has until January of 2016 to become a county resident.

Shortly after she started working as superintendent, Schlosser told the Enterprise that moving to Marion County was important to her. Last week, she reiterated that is something she is still pursuing.

“My house has been listed with Hale Realtors for almost a year. We plan to continue pursuing the sale of our house,” Schlosser wrote.

When asked if she thinks if it is important for the superintendent to live in the district, she replied that, “it is important that a superintendent is qualified and performs their duties as the superintendent based on the goals and objectives the board has set.”

She added that the superintendent should be part of the community, which includes attending functions and community events.

“More importantly, the superintendent must be focused on student achievement,” Schlosser wrote. “I do believe that in my situation it helps that I am only a few miles away and that my husband and I own a business downtown where we pay taxes to the community and contribute to tourism/economy of Lebanon, Marion County.”

Board Member Mike Cecil supported granting the extension, and he spoke longer than any other board member in favor of doing so during the June 19 meeting when the decision was made.

Cecil said some people have said Schlosser hasn’t made an attempt to move here, which is something he called “hogwash.”

“She took a contract on her house. And she put a contract on a house here. The contract on the house in Springfield fell through, and that individual lost his deposit. The contract over here, she didn’t have a way to make it happen,” Cecil said during the June 19 meeting.

Schlosser wrote in an email that Cecil was correct.

“We had a contract to sell our home but it was a scam,” she wrote. “Because we had signed a contract to sell our house, we made an offer on a home in Marion County but due to the scam we lost a sizable amount of earnest money. This was a horrible experience for all parties involved. We are currently debating on contacting the FBI based on the events involving the scam.”

Schlosser’s realtor did not return a call seeking comment.

 

In other matters:

• Schlosser also indicated that a recent report that Marion County Public Schools have a $5.89 million bonding capacity is an improvement.

When she started as superintendent last year, the district’s bonding capacity was a little more than $3 million.

“Hopefully, we can move forward with HVAC and roofing issues at [Lebanon Middle School]. The issues at LMS are a necessity,” she wrote. “I believe that our strategic planning will be the source of how we move forward with any type of facility improvements.”

She added that early childhood education for all Marion County children is a big dream for the district, and facilities are part of making that dream a reality.

• With regard to the athletic director’s position, earlier this year Schlosser made a recommendation to separate the athletic director’s duties from that of an assistant principal at the high school. Earlier this month, Schlosser announced that Robbie Peterson would remain in both roles.

“I believe that Mr. Peterson can carry out both roles at a very high level,” she wrote. “Mr. Peterson is an instructional leader in our school and can serve in a dual role to ensure that our students are college and career ready.”

An assistant athletic director will also provide support for the district’s middle school teams, and that person will work with Peterson.

“Mr. Peterson is the right person to support the additional middle school programs and support an assistant athletic director as well,” Schlosser wrote.

• In a more general sense, Schlosser said she hopes that adults will focus on what we can do together to help all children receive the best education possible.

“I am excited about seeing the work implemented from our strategic plan this spring,” she wrote. “It was an awesome experience to see over 150 people talking about and planning what we can do TOGETHER to ensure our community grows over the next 3, 5, 10, 20 years. Marion County has the potential with great citizens willing to give their time and energy to ensure that our community is a great place to live and work for many years!”