A question related to the hiring of staff members that was raised during the April meeting of Emmetsburg School Board came back to life during the May meeting of the board. The question revolved around a long-standing practice of hiring from within the district.
Board President BJ Schany had originally started the discussion in April, and Superintendent John Joynt reminded the board of what the district's current policy entails. The current board policies were presented to the board.
"Currently, if we have a vacancy within the district, we do advertise that vacancy in-house first," Joynt explained. "After a brief period of time, we then advertise outside the district regionally, as well as on-line and eventually with the Des Moines Register, but that gets rather expensive."
"I guess my goal in discussing this is that I want us to be consistent in how we hire," Schany explained. "I don't want to write policy, but I believe that we as a board owe it to the public to be consistent in how we hire our staff. If that means we have to write policy, I don't know what that isit just seems inconsistent to me."
Schany continued, "We've been fortunate to have great internal candidates, I'm not saying we don't, but I want to make sure we have the best candidates that are applying. If no one knows about the jobs, we will never get the best applicants. If we have the opportunity, we want the best."
"The philosophy there is also to obtain and retain the best qualified, excellent employees," Joynt noted.
"That's the premise of looking in-house first, to make sure you get the qualified people who are here. We've often gone outside the district before if we weren't happy with the in-house applicants."
Board Member Scott Kibbie asked what would happen if applicants for a position did not meet the expectations of the district.
"If we're not happy with the applicants, we'd start all over. The hiring is going to be important," Joynt replied.
"To me, it seems with our higher level positions, our principals and superintendent, it would make more sense to advertise the position outside the district and in-house at the same time to give us the opportunity to see what's out there," suggested Board Member Tammy Naig. "We have been lucky to have applicants in-house that have wanted to move up into positions that we've had available."
Discussion continued about the possibility that an opening could arise in the future where the board wasn't comfortable with just an in-house candidate. Naig pointed out by bringing outside applicants into such a mix, it might help the board make a tough decision easier.
"You would want the hiring pool to have both in-house and outside applicants together?" Board Member Kathy Roethler asked Naig.
"Yes," Naig replied, "and anyone in-house would already have an advantage because we know them, we know where they're at, but at least we can go back and say we made the best decision based on everything that's out there on the table."
"That would allow for a more consistent approach," observed Board Member Rick Brennan.
"It does allow for a more consistent approach." Naig agreed. "Then, we can see what's out there. It just doesn't seem like we're consistent."
Joynt offered to take the ideas from the discussion and write up a sample board policy to fin in the 303 series of Board Policy and to submit it to the Iowa Association of School Boards to see if it were appropriate.
"I'd be interested in seeing their feedback," Brennan noted. "I'm sure they've seen this from other school districtswe're not re-inventing the wheel here."
"I'll put some language together and send that down to them and we'll go from there," Joynt said. Bringing the discussion to a close.