Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016
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TPS races to slate public hearings

The Toledo Board of Education is scrambling Wednesday to schedule public hearings and meetings for the community next week to ask questions of the two finalists for superintendent.

The board is hoping it can have space reserved for June 30 or July 1 to allow civic groups to ask questions and fill out comment cards about the candidates.

A session for the general public likely will be scheduled.

"That's an outline; it's not something we're married to," said President Bob Vasquez at the board's regular meeting last night. "We have to move very quickly."

The groups will be contacted starting today, he said.

The two finalists are:

• Jerome Pecko, ex-superintendent of Springfield Local Schools near Akron. He's considered a traditional candidate with experience in K-12 education administration.

• Tom Watkins, Michigan's former state superintendent of public instruction and a longtime education official. He's considered a nontraditional choice.

Mr. Watkins has experience in business and consulting and is president and chief executive officer of TD&W and Associates, an educational consulting firm.

A new superintendent faces some daunting fiscal issues. The school board is almost finished closing a $39 million budget hole projected for the upcoming year and made deep cuts to the budget, including layoffs. TPS faces a projected deficit of $44 million for the 2011-12 school year.

The public rejected a school levy May 4 that would have saved some jobs and programs. Two key groups, the Greater Toledo Urban League and the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, came out strongly against the levy.

Representatives of the two groups likely will be invited to talk to the superintendent finalists next week, the board said.

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