School board to begin search for new superintendent

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School District 6 Superintendent Steve Bradshaw addresses parents during a meeting in this file photo.

School District Six will soon begin its search for a new Superintendent to replace Steve Bradshaw after the school board “reluctantly” accepted his letter of resignation at their regular meeting Monday evening. Bradshaw’s resignation will take effect June 30, 2020.

While some of the board members jokingly pointed out Bradshaw’s six years with the district were short compared to previous superintendent and current board member Mike Nicosia, Bradshaw pointed out that his tenure here has lasted nearly twice as long as the state average of others in his position.

The board says it will open up the position to current school employees until Dec. 1 and, if no suitable candidates come forward in that timeframe, begin advertising to fill the position on Dec. 2.

In other action, the board unanimously approved moving forward to hire Whitefish’s Dow Powell and Dow’s Custom Construction to act as the district’s owner representative for the construction funded by the recently passed $37 million bond issue.

As the school’s representative on the project, Powell and his company would be tasked with coordinating all aspects of the construction process while also making sure the project keeps with the schools vision and interests.

According to Powell’s application for the position, his company has been serving Northwest Montana for 40 years and he has previously served as owner’s representative for several projects, including those at Whitefish High School, the Whitefish Lake Golf Course maintenance building and the Eureka Town Hall. He is currently in the final year of working with Whitefish schools on their Muldown Elementary Project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

In other action related to the Columbia Falls Elementary Project, the board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the amount of the general obligation bonds for the project to be set at $37,072,000 with an interest rate not to exceed 3.5 percent.

While the resolution sets the maximum amount that could be used on the project, board chair Jill Rocksund pointed out that the district could ask for a smaller bond amount, if the project is kept under budget.

“We are taking very seriously our charge to build the very best schools and improvements that we can with the least amount of money required because we are very respectful of our community members,” she said.

The board also heard reports from the various school principals, including one from Ruder Elementary’s Brenda Kruger that highlighted a 96.5 percent attendance rate at the school so far this year, including one third-grade class with a 97 percent attendance rate.

The board also recognized members of the Friends of School District Six organization, which it felt played a large role in the passing of the bond issue.

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