Hayden School Board to announce superintendent finalists

Person would replace Greg Rockhold as Hayden superintendent

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If you go

What: Hayden School Board meeting

When: 6 p.m. today

Where: Hayden High School auditorium

The Hayden School Board plans to announce a finalist or finalists tonight for part-time superintendent in 2010-11.

It will correct action that School Board President Brian Hoza said last week and reiterated Tuesday “wasn’t handled properly.”

At its March 31 meeting, the School Board voted, 3-2, to hire Mike Luppes for the position. Board members at the meeting previously voted to approve restructuring the district’s ad­­ministration as a half-time su­­perintendent and full-time sec­­ondary principal, also by a 3-2 vote. Hayden High School Principal Troy Zabel was unanimously approved as the secondary principal in 2010-11.

An April 4 Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial called into question the legality of Luppes’ hiring. Ac­­cording to Colorado’s open meetings law, a CEO position such as superintendent cannot be hired until after a finalist or finalists have been publicly named and then 14 days have passed.

Hoza said last week that after discussing the action with its attorneys, the School Board was told Luppes’ hiring was “null and void” and they would have to restart the process.

“We want to correct that process and be sure we’re following the protocol,” Hoza said Tuesday, referring to the state’s open meetings law. “What that protocol does for folks is give people the chance to chime in on the proposed hires.”

The public will have a chance to comment during a discussion about the district’s administrative structure and hiring process. Because the district has heard from some people who have indicated their desire to address the board, today’s 6 p.m. meeting has been moved to the high school’s auditorium.

“We want to hear what people have to say,” Hoza said about district faculty and staff, parents and community members.

Hoza said the public discussion could help the School Board decide whether to make Luppes a candidate for half-time superintendent next school year or initiate a search process.

The School Board also is scheduled to consider appointing Luppes as an “administrative consultant” for the rest of the year. Hoza said the district needed to hire someone to make administrative decisions to help guide the district for the rest of the school year.

At the March 31 meeting, the School Board voted unanim­ously to relieve Superintendent Greg Rockhold of his duties for the rest of the school year. Board members voted not to approve his contract for 2010-11 at the March 17 meeting.

An executive session to negotiate Luppes’ role with the district this year also has been set, but Hoza said it might not be necessary after initial conversations with him.

Asked whether subsequent conversations with the district’s attorney revealed any other questionable action from the March 31 meeting, Hoza said, “No.”

The April 4 editorial, written by the newspaper’s Editorial Board, also questioned the purpose of the March 31 executive session, which Hoza has said was convened to discuss the district’s administrative structure, not personnel matters related to specific employees as required by law. In addition, the editorial questioned whether decisions were made in executive session, which the state’s open meetings law prohibits.

Even though board members Kurt Frentress and Tim Frentress opposed the changing of the administrative structure and the hiring of Luppes at the March 31 meeting, both motions were made and voted on within about five minutes of the conclusion of a nearly three-hour executive session. There was little public discussion about either motion.

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