Troubled Nampa School District introduces superintendent finalists

Two candidates for the superintendent job in Nampa say openness is the way to rebuild trust.

broberts@idahostatesman.comMarch 4, 2014 

The finalists say they have experience dealing with financial problems.

“Building trust comes down to doing what the community is asking you to do through the elected board and following through with that,” said Glenn Gelbrich, superintendent of the Juneau School District in Alaska, at a news conference Monday.

Gelbrich and David Peterson, superintendent of the North Mason School District northwest of Tacoma, Wash., both spoke at the news conference. They are vying to replace Interim Superintendent Pete Koehler, who is retiring in June. They are among 13 candidates who originally applied.

Koehler was named superintendent last spring as the third leader in the district following superintendent Gary Larsen’s resignation in 2012 when district financial problems came to light. The district double-counted revenues and overestimated enrollments, which led to a $5.3 million shortfall.

When Peterson came to North Mason seven years ago, the 2,100-student district had a hard time meeting payroll. “They were struggling on a lot of fronts,” he said.

Seven years later, “we are in great shape,” Peterson said. The district ended the year with an improved fund balance.

Gelbrich, whose district is about a third the size of Nampa’s 15,000 students, said he has had to cut budgets at Juneau by $11 million in four years and anticipates another $3 million to $4 million cut in the upcoming year.

The Nampa School Board will meet in executive session Thursday. No date is set for when it will make a decision.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRobert

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