DANVILLE — Board members Wednesday will continue a discussion from last week about the superintendent selection process.

During a special meeting last Wednesday whose open portion was only intended for discussion of the old Walgreens property acquisition, board members spoke for more than an hour with community members who demanded the public be allowed part of the selection process for the district’s top position.

Superintendent Nanette Mellen retires at the end of the current school year.

The board conducted a closed session to discuss the superintendent appointment.

School boards are free to choose superintendents however they like — by appointment or through an application process. In past years, the district has utilized state resources to search for candidates nationwide.

This year, school board members could select someone from either within or outside the district.

Board president Randal Ashton said the community members’ message was heard loud and clear and therefore the process of choosing a superintendent will be up for discussion in open session among the board Wednesday.

“I don’t think we’ve actually decided what the process is going to be,” he said. “That’s why we need to do it in open session.”

Ashton said community input is welcome.

“That will definitely be a part of the process,” he said.

Greg Hilleary is in his 11th year as a board member and said the selection process has never been an issue the public expressed much interest in before.

“I personally was surprised the other night,” he said.

He was a board member when superintendents Mellen and former Superintendent David Fields were appointed, and when others were chosen from an application pool.

A nationwide search for Gary Tucker, who replaced Fields, cost about $20,000, Hilleary said.

Tucker was evaluated by a screening committee of community members, who did make a recommendation to the board, Hilleary added. He believes the position will be open to applications this time, although the district has internal qualified candidates.

“In my time we’ve done it both ways: we’ve selected a candidate and we’ve opened it up. We’ve got qualified candidates within the district,” he said.

The superintendent is not publicly elected and it’s often difficult to allow candidates’ names to be released to the public, he added.

“As an example, if we were interviewing the superintendent of Oakwood’s school district, would he want their board to know? Probably not,” he said.

Also at the meeting, the board will conduct a public hearing on the fiscal year 2009 budget, which has been on display for more than 30 days. The board will vote on it at the meeting.

The total estimated budget is $69,784,619. Estimated revenues are $70,745,196, which leaves a surplus of $906,577.

The education fund, which is the largest piece of the budget, has proposed expenditures of $58,024,489 and estimated revenues of $59, 511,551.

General state aid for fiscal year 2009 will be $26,549,332 and comprises 38 percent of the revenue.

The estimated equalized assessed valuation for the district is $401,657,421. The district’s estimated tax rate would be $4.8945, which would result in tax revenue for the district of $19,659,123.

Local property taxes account for approximately 28 percent of the district’s revenue.

The district’s EAV increased from $383,056,049 to $401,657,421, which resulted in a decreased tax rate. The rate dropped from $4.9624 in 2008 to $4.8945.

Local revenue amounts for 35.8 percent of the budget revenues. State money accounts for 53.5 percent and federal dollars account for 10.5 percent.

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