School board gives thumbs up to Monson

MARSHALL – After a day of conducting interviews with finalist candidates, the Marshall School Board voted Monday evening to offer the position of school superintendent to Scott Monson. Monson is currently the superintendent of Morris Public Schools in Morris, Minn.

“We were honored to have so many qualified applicants,” in the superintendent search, said School Board Chairman Jeff Chapman. Marshall received a total of 14 applicants for the position.

Monson was one of three superintendent finalist candidates interviewed, together with Patrick Westby, the superintendent of West Central Area Schools in Barrett, Minn., and Steven Baule, the superintendent of the North Boone School District in Poplar Grove, Ill. Chapman said a fourth finalist, Lucas DeWitt, the director of elementary education in Spencer, Iowa, withdrew from candidacy last week.

Finalists were interviewed by four different search committees, each representing different stakeholder groups in the Marshall school district. Members of the school board, school administrators, faculty, and Marshall area community members all gave feedback on the finalists.

Chapman said Monson received positive ratings from both the school board and the search committees.

“He’s extremely qualified. He’s been a superintendent for 10 years,” Chapman said. School board members also felt Monson would be a good fit for the Marshall district, and would have good vision to carry the district forward.

School board members voted unanimously to recommend Monson for superintendent, contingent on successful contract negotiations.

If he accepts the position, Monson will replace outgoing Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert, who has been with the Marshall school district for 10 years.

Willert was named superintendent for the Brainerd School District in April.

Another major item of business for the school board Monday night was the 2014-2015 district budget. School board members voted to approve a budget with a projected total $4.85 million starting fund balance, a total of $31.99 million in projected revenue, a total of $32.12 million in expenditures, and a projected ending fund balance of $4.72 million.

Director of Business Services Bruce Lamprecht said the Marshall district is projecting an increase in students for the coming school year. Overall, the Marshall School District has seen some smaller graduating classes, but larger numbers of incoming kindergarten students, he said.

Lamprecht said there were some possible areas of concern ahead for district expenditures. Marshall’s plans to implement technology in the district will likely have an impact on expenditures, he said, as will capital outlay and the building lease for the new MA-TEC campus. However, Lamprecht said, “We still are in pretty good shape.”

Chapman noted the district’s long-term financial plans had included spending some reserve funds. However, he and Lamprecht said the board will need to think about the most judicious uses for reserve funds in the future.

“We’re going to continue to be prudent. That’s what we need to do,” Lamprecht said.