Through all the acrimony that dominated last night's special meeting of the Toledo school board, new President Darlene Fisher was able to walk away with one victory: getting the board to agree on developing a request for proposals to hire a consultant to help the district find a new superintendent.
The unanimous vote was about all the board could agree on during the meeting that lasted about 75 minutes.
Ms. Fisher said the vote allowed the process to move forward, but the language of the request still will have to be approved by board members before it is published, said James Fortlage, the district's treasurer.
He said the request used in the last superintendent search in 2000 will be used as a template for this year's search.
The board president was peppered with questions about goals for the district and for the new superintendent as well as what role the community will play in the selection of a new superintendent.
Board members Larry Sykes and Deborah Barnett repeatedly pressed Ms. Fisher on specifics.
Both also criticized Ms. Fisher for saying several times that the community had lost trust in the board, and the current board had to win that trust back.
Ms. Fisher said, though, she was not disappointed with the discussion, which at times was heated. She admitted she felt there was some ill will in the questioning, but believed that was a process the board members will go through before they find a point at which they trust one another and work together.
"We have five different personalities on the board," Ms. Fisher said. "We have great diversity on the board, and I think that will be to our benefit."
Board member Steve Steel joined Mr. Sykes and Ms. Barnett in suggesting that the board talk about its goals and objectives before putting out a request.
New board member Robert Torres said developing the district's goals and the goals for the new superintendent shouldn't stop them from moving the process along.
Left out of the long discussion of the district's goals for most of the meeting was the person who implemented them, Superintendent Eugene Sanders.
"If I was recognized earlier, I could have saved you some discussion," said Mr. Sanders after he was recognized by Ms. Fisher after a brief executive session. He then offered his help in explaining his and the district's goals.
Mr. Sykes said after the meeting that was Ms. Fisher's attempt to snub Mr. Sanders.
"He wrote the goals, and she wouldn't even recognize him," Mr. Sykes said.
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