Templeton to hire an interim superintendent

Templeton school district trustees faced with finding a replacement for Superintendent Deborah Bowers, whose resignation is effective June 30, will hire an interim leader until a permanent replacement is found.

Trustees will consider next week whether to hire a private consulting firm to conduct a search or contract with the county Office of Education, which offers similar services.

The Templeton Unified School District board will also ask the county schools office for recommendations to find an interim superintendent, though several people at Thursday’s meeting asked if Bowers could serve in an interim role until her replacement is hired.

Bowers announced her departure at a special meeting of the board last week. She joined the district 11 years ago and has been superintendent for four years. Her salary is about $130,000 annually.

The public and school employees packed the music room at Templeton Middle School on Thursday night to hear trustees consider layoffs, budget issues and how to replace Bowers.

The board has reportedly had some emotional meetings recently, as trustees work to cut $1 million from their roughly $18 million general fund budget.

“We do have some colorful meetings,” trustee Debbie Viborg said. “We are five different people and can’t agree on everything.”

In recent weeks, Bowers as well as several other top administrators have submitted their intent to resign or retire.

Others include principals at Templeton High and Vineyard Elementary; and the directors of alternative education; technology; and maintenance, operations, transportation and grounds.

The board looked May 4 at a plan for replacing the positions in which two posts — directors of alternative education and technology — would stay vacant to save more than $210,000 a year.

Board President David La Rue called timing of the six vacancies a coincidence and noted that the board would decide next week whether to fill them or leave them vacant.

The search for a new superintendent, however, will span several months.

Trustees have to decide how much to spend on a search — whether to pay the county schools office $5,500 for its services or to hire RJ Gatti Associates at an estimated cost of $17,500.

Several parents and teachers who attended Thursday’s meeting urged the board to go with the less expensive option.

“That’s a big difference,” noted parent Tracy Dumont. “What are we getting for that $10,000 more?”

There were also some questions about what led to Bowers’ resignation.

Trustee Jeanne Hunt read a statement during the meeting accusing La Rue of overstepping his authority in April when he removed the superintendent’s evaluation from a public agenda.

La Rue said later that the evaluation was a personnel item and shouldn’t be on a public meeting agenda unless Bowers requested it.

Trustees also voted 4-0 Thursday to rescind seven of the 18 layoff notices they had issued in March. Eleven credentialed employees will receive final notices. Trustee Larry Miller was absent.

They also voted to cut six jobs, including a bus driver, an instructional assistant and an autism technician.

Reach Cynthia Lambert at 781-7929.