ACGC School Board votes unanimously to replace superintendent
GROVE CITY -- A new superintendent will be taking over the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove School District July 1. The ACGC School Board voted unanimously Monday to replace current Superintendent Pamela Kyllingstad, possibly with a part-time interim superin...
GROVE CITY -- A new superintendent will be taking over the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove School District July 1.
The ACGC School Board voted unanimously Monday to replace current Superintendent Pamela Kyllingstad, possibly with a part-time interim superintendent, at the beginning of the new school year. The board may even consider sharing a superintendent with another district.
Because Kyllingstad's three-year contract extends through June 30, 2009, the board agreed to reassign her as principal for the district's elementary schools in Atwater and Cosmos for the last two years of her contract.
During the last year, Kyllingstad has spent 60 percent of her time doing superintendent duties and 40 percent as principal at North Elementary in Atwater.
Kyllingstad had agreed to open up her contract and negotiate a reassignment after being approached by the school board in December.
The change comes amidst frustration by residents with the district's school board, leadership and the district's troubling financial situation, said ACGC School Board chairwoman Judy Raske.
ACGC is in statutory operating debt and has two more years to come into compliance with the state's financial guidelines.
Residents are being asked to approve a new operating levy Feb. 13 to generate additional revenue.
Voters rejected the last two levy referendums, including one in November.
Raske said some residents, who were upset with the length and financial amount of Kyllingstad's contract that was approved last summer, wanted a new superintendent to take over sooner. Raske said it would be very difficult to change leadership in the middle of the school year because contracts for other staff would also be affected.
She asked for the public's patience with the process and expressed the board's desire to make decisions that will be good for the district and the students. "It's about our kids," Raske said.
"We are trying to move forward and make changes for the district," said board member Janell Johnson, who encouraged the community to have a positive view of the school district.
By the same token, board members expressed frustration with some district residents.
Board member Rick Nordin said some people have spoken negatively, and incorrectly, about the school district. "It blows me away -- the incorrect coffee talk," he said.
Russ Peterson, a parent, said voters may be confused about how much they'll actually pay in taxes if the levy passes. He said his research shows he'll pay far less than he expected.
Board member John Cunningham said if people want to have a "thriving community" they need to approve the levy and keep the school strong. "If we lose the school, we lose the churches and the community," he said.
Cunningham said if the levy fails and more teachers and classes are cut, parents will have "tough" decisions to make on which district to send their children.
In the last 10 years, the district has gone from 98 full-time equivalent teachers to 66. Recent cuts have meant crowded classrooms, reductions in elective classes for senior high students and increased student fees.
Nordin said he's been asked what the school board intends to do if the levy fails for a third time. His response: "We'll come back at you as soon as we can." He said the levy referendums will continue until a levy is finally approved.
ACGC district residents will go to the polls 3:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 13 to vote on whether to revoke an existing $650 per pupil levy and replace it with a $1,444 per pupil levy that would last for seven years. The polling places are at the schools in Grove City, Cosmos and Atwater.
If approved, revenue from the levy wouldn't come into the district until June of 2008.