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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Board discusses residency policy

  • When they met Tuesday, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education discussed the idea of requiring administrators to live within the school district.
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  • When they met Tuesday, members of the Leavenworth Board of Education discussed the idea of requiring administrators to live within the school district.
    No action was taken Tuesday, but board President Mike Robinson said the issue will be brought up again  for a vote during a Nov. 19 meeting.
    Robinson said he brought the issue to the board after two men involved in the Leavenworth Public Schools Education Foundation had suggested to him that administrators be required to live Leavenworth.
    According to Robinson, the issue was addressed by the Leavenworth Board of Education in 2011 and was voted down 5-2.
    Donna Whiteman, an attorney with Kansas Association of School Boards, addressed board members Tuesday. While she didn’t say the district can’t have a residency requirement, she recommended against adopting a policy with a such requirement.
    She said there are five things to consider. The first is that federal and state law requires the district to hire the most qualified person. She said the district would have to be prepared to defend its decision for hiring a particular person.
    She said a residency requirement makes the district less competitive in its recruitment.
    “You want to be able to hire and be competitive,” she said.
    She said adding a residency requirement can lead to prospective administrators asking for more money. She said this could add anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 to a salary package.
    Whiteman said many educators marry educators, and this can make it difficult for one to agree to move into another school district.
    She also said board members already have the authority to require someone to live in the district without an approved policy. She said the requirement can be made a condition when hiring someone.
    “You can ask that question,” she said.
    Whiteman said if board members adopt a residency policy, she would recommend it apply only to new hires, allowing current employees to be grandfathered in.
    Board member Nancy Klemp said she’s heard from people who would like to see people who makes decisions in the district live in the community.
    Board member Mo Minchew said when people refer to administrators they may think of only the superintendent and assistant superintendents. He noted the district has 33 employees who are considered to be administrators.
    Seven of the 33 administrators are said to be employed through the district but work elsewhere as part of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative.
    Board member Loyal Torkelson proposed imposing a residency requirement only for some administrative positions that he said are involved in setting agendas.
    Torkelson said he was told he had to move to Leavenworth years ago for a principal’s job.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It was the best move I ever made,” he said. “I love Leavenworth.”
    Board member Verna Raines expressed concern that a residency requirement would limit the district in being able to find highly qualified people.
    Robinson said the board would have to decide what the residency requirement would be — for the district, the county or some other area.
    Board member Paul Kittle said he understands the desire for people to live in Leavenworth. But he said a residency requirement would ask people to move for what could be a short period of time if their contracts aren’t renewed.
    Board Vice President Marti Crow noted the board can ask people to live in the district now without a policy.
    “A policy would bind us,” she said.

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