The Dist. 861 School Board will be again taking up the question of whether or not to search for a new superintendent, or to offer another one-year contract to Interim Superintendent Scott Hannon, as some on the current board have suggested.
Should Dr. Hannon want to continue in the superintendent’s seat, and if the school board considers him best for the job, would it not be better to choose him in a formal superintendent search than to appoint him? Especially since, as Catherine Pahnke pointed out in her letter to the editor of November 24, the folks in Dist. 861 have a long memory. She recalled that a school board several years ago offered a contract to then-Supt. Paul Durand earlier than necessary, and wrote: “WHY? I don’t think the community was as naive as that board may think it was. That group of school board members had a debt to pay to Paul Durand and he was not going to let them forget it before they left office.”
Wouldn’t this school board and Dr. Hannon want to avoid similar accusations of preferential treatment from district employees and the public? Shouldn’t the job of superintendent of schools be filled by a person who has gone through a search and shown himself to be the clear choice? Would any superintendent want this cloud of suspicion hanging over his head in a community with such a long memory?
Or, to avoid accusations of playing favorites or trying to push through an agenda before a new board is seated in January, why not just let the newly seated board appoint Dr. Hannon to another one-year contract if that is what they see fit?
If, as Catherine Pahnke wrote, “The climate in the district buildings has improved. The constant tension has eased up significantly,” wouldn’t it be best to not throw fuel on the dying embers of rancor that sizzle under the surface of Dist. 861 by appearing to rush through an irreversible appointment (as that long-ago board appeared to some to be doing)?
It certainly would improve the manner in which this board and this superintendent are remembered in the future.