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More than $32,000 spent on Washington County superintendent search

July 18, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Expense report for Washington County Public Schools superintendent search.
Washington County Public Schools

Washington County Public Schools spent $32,894 in its search for a new superintendent, according to an expense report the school system provided Monday at The Herald-Mail’s request.

“It’s about what I thought it would be ... I was worried it would be more,” school board President Wayne Ridenour said.

“I think we got pretty good bang for our buck. That’s a lot of money. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not downplaying the expense. But it’s in the neighborhood of what I expected it to be. Maybe a little less than I thought it’d be,” Ridenour said.

The school board hired Clayton Wilcox, a former Scholastic executive who served as a superintendent in Pinellas County, Fla., and East Baton Rouge, La. Wilcox’s new four-year contract began July 1.

He succeeds Elizabeth Morgan, who led the school system for a decade and was named 2010 National Superintendent of the Year. Morgan retired Feb. 28 to take a job as executive director of America’s Promise Alliance’s dropout-prevention initiative.

Search expenses for a new superintendent included $18,000 in candidate search fees charged by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE).

In addition, travel expenses for the MABE search consultants totaled $4,630.49. This would include hotel stays, as well as their travel to Washington County and to Four Points Sheraton BWI, south of Baltimore, for interviews, Ridenour said.

Travel expenses for the candidates totaled $2,733.25. In addition, the cost of food and lodging for finalist interviews was $2,232.66.

The school board used a small conference room at Four Points Sheraton BWI to conduct first- and second-round interviews with all of the candidates except one, Ridenour said. The cost of the room was $1,210.08.

The other candidate’s first-round interview was held in a banquet room at Hagerstown Hotel & Convention Center, Ridenour said. With coffee, that expense was $260.

Background checks on the three finalists cost $430.40. The finalists were Wilcox; Craig Fiegel, who was superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools near Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Boyd J. Michael III, Washington County’s deputy schools superintendent.

Advertising costs were $2,773.80, including $2,423.80 for advertising through Education Week.

The school system paid Bagel-Lisious $623.40 for a light dinner for 80 during an orientation session for the search focus group.

Search expenses were paid with money from positions that went unfilled during the fiscal year that ended June 30, school system spokesman Richard Wright said.

The Herald-Mail submitted the request for search expense information June 6.

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