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Education

Former TPS superintendent to lead Sandusky schools

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Eugene Sanders, shown here at a news conference in 2010, has been offered a job as a consultant to help run the Sandusky public Schools.

The Plain Dealer Enlarge

SANDUSKY — Former Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Eugene Sanders is set to take the top administrative spot for Sandusky City Schools, at least temporarily.

The Sandusky Board of Education voted today to hire Mr. Sanders as a consultant, with the intentions of offering him a one-year contract as interim superintendent, board vice president Jeff Krabill said.

Current Superintendent Tom Tucker likely will leave the district next month to take the same job with Lorain City Schools. The Sandusky board learned only in June that Mr. Tucker might leave; the timing meant an abbreviated search process. Mr. Krabill said the board liked both Mr. Sanders’ experience, and that he is a product of the Sandusky district, giving him familiarity with the community.

“Given what we were looking for at this juncture,” Mr. Krabill said, “Gene was by far the best candidate.”

Mr. Sanders led TPS between 2000 and 2006, leaving to become chief executive officer for the Cleveland School District, from which he retired in February of last year. He interviewed for the presidency of Bowling Green State University, but was not a finalist for the position.

The Sandusky board doesn’t plan to start a search for a permanent superintendent until January, Mr. Krabill said. Compensation for Mr. Sanders’ interim-superintendent contract are not yet finalized, but Mr. Krabill said the the board of education intends to pay him roughly the same as Mr. Tucker, about $120,000 a year.

In recent days, possible data reporting practices under the Sanders administrations in both Toledo and Cleveland have faced scrutiny, after the Ohio Department of Education and State Auditor Dave Yost launched statewide investigations into manipulation of attendance data, following reports of the practice in Columbus, Toledo, and Lockland.

In August, 2004, under Superintendent Sanders, when Toledo Public Schools jumped out of academic emergency and landed a continuous improvement state rating — the equivalent of going from an F to a C — some wondered if the district had used measures such as truant “scrubbing,” or withdrawing truant students so their test scores don’t count.

The Cleveland school district also came under scrutiny for scrubbing in 2008, two years after Mr. Sanders took over as that school system’s chief executive. Mr. Krabill said he was familiar with the state investigation, but had not followed the probe in depth. He said it played no role in the hiring of Mr. Sanders.

“I don’t think there’s enough information right now for us to have taken that into any consideration at all,” Mr. Krabill said. “Rumors are not something that most people base decisions on.”

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