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Newport-Mesa supt. search process finalized

School board reinstates interview group with 14 fewer participants and schedules 10 community meetings to gain input.

March 14, 2012|By Britney Barnes

The Newport-Mesa Unified school board has finalized the process, timeline and makeup of a group that will search for the next superintendent.

The process includes 10 community input meetings and reforming the Superintendent Community Interview Group.

"We want to get as much input as we can, and we want people to feel that they can be involved," interim Supt. Rob Barbot, who is also running the search process for his permanent replacement, said during a study session Tuesday night.

The board moved to pare down the number of participants in the interview group to 31 from the 45-member committee who helped hire former Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard, who was sentenced to three years' probation and 60 days in jail following his January conviction of two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds.

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Barbot said having 45 members — 24 more than the group that helped hire him in 1998 — wouldn't work. He added that the conversations couldn't go in depth with that many people.

For the latest search, committee members will come from the Coast Community College District; Costa Mesa United; Harbor Council Parent Teacher Assn.; District English Learner Advisory Committee; adult education; Newport-Mesa Schools Foundation; the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa; Newport-Mesa Supervisors; the chambers of commerce in Newport, Costa Mesa and Corona del Mar; the student population; parents; the Newport-Mesa Administrators Assn.; the California School Employees Assn.; and the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.

After the school board narrows down the pool, the group will interview candidates June 8. The board plans to visit the top candidate's community before hiring him or her at its regular meeting June 26.

The board also approved a recruitment brochure that will be distributed nationally to all school districts with more than 5,000 students.

Trustee Martha Fluor wanted to ensure that the brochure specifically stated that the district was looking for a candidate who has experience with program-improvement schools.

She also brought up concerns that the board hasn't discussed the superintendent's salary before the application process starts.

"[The] salary will be negotiable and competitive based on the experience and qualifications of the selected candidate," according to the brochure.

Fluor said she is worried that candidates will see Hubbard's final compensation online and expect commensurate pay.

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