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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • District to look at residency requirements

  • The Leavenworth Board of Education will again consider residency requirements for its administrators following a vote Tuesday to direct staff to draft such a policy.
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  • The Leavenworth Board of Education will again consider residency requirements for its administrators following a vote Tuesday to direct staff to draft such a policy.
    That vote came during a special meeting in which the board discussed and voted on a series of suggested policy changes from one of its two newest members, Doug Darling.
    “It was certainly the most sensitive subject when I was going door to door knocking on doors asking for people's votes,” Darling said of his 2013 campaign. “People in the district want administrators to live in the district.”
    What that policy would have to look like is a different matter. It's something the board has looked at before — about a year ago, when they were presented with a wealth of information on the subject, according to Board Member Paul Kittle.
    “We discussed this at length and the practical answer was it would be great if we could require it, but it's not feasible,” he said.
    Some of the concerns with drafting a residency requirement include how to certify that residency; which employees it affects and whether existing employees are “grandfathered” in; whether the policy required residency in the district or whether employees could live in the county or on Fort Leavenworth; and if the district would offer some kind of stipend for moving costs.
    “There are a lot of questions that legally bind you as a board of education,” said School Superintendent Kelly Crane.
    Board Member Mike Carney, who took his seat alongside Darling this month, said the requirement was something he had heard about on the campaign trail, too. He said he wouldn't support requiring existing employees to move in the next year, but that it could be a condition of employment for future hires.
    “For a couple of reasons. One, because it shows they're committed to this community and to what they're committing to pursue as an occupation,” he said. “Also, to me, it would make someone want to stay longer if they have to make that commitment.”
    Board Member Marti Crow said she agrees that that kind of policy could help instill a sense of community investment in an employee, but cautioned against then requiring residency on shorter-term one-year contracts.
    “If you're going to make someone move, and then tell them that in a year, they could be gone, I don't think that's realistic,” she said.
    Board President Nancy Klemp said the matter could be one of credibility — an administrator living in Leavenworth County or in the district could serve as a sort of show of faith to the public. She said she would like to honor existing contracts, but require newly hired staff to agree to live here.
    Page 2 of 2 - “If you want to come here, we believe in you if you believe in us,” she said.
    The board voted, 4-3, with Kittle, Crow and Board Member Verna Raines opposed, to direct staff to draft a residency requirement for presentation at the September board meeting.
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