Warren board chose speed over public scrutiny

The Warren Local Board of Education voted Wednesday evening to hire a new superintendent, a candidate who was not part of the original list of contenders for the job.

The board had originally whittled 18 applicants down to three and invited district personnel and community members to meet and question those candidates at a forum earlier this month.

Members ultimately decided not to extend an offer to any of those candidates. Then, just a few days ago the board announced it would be voting to hire Kyle Newton, current superintendent of Crooksville Exempted Village Schools, at a special meeting Wednesday.

It must have left district residents feeling out of the loop.

Allowing public input on such an important hiring decision is something we support and something many districts have opted to do during superintendent searches.

The Warren board seemed to be handling the search in a way that was inclusive, thorough and satisfactory to everyone.

Ultimately it is only the public’s decision to elect the board members and it’s then the board members’ decision to select administrators.

Still, the board went to the trouble of coordinating a public meeting with three out-of-the-area candidates. Wouldn’t it have been much simpler and not too much trouble to allow residents the opportunity to meet just one?

Not doing so makes it seem as though the first forum was just for appearances, or perhaps that it wasn’t a sincere effort to really incorporate residents’ opinions into the hiring process. At the very least, it makes it seem as though gaining public input on this decision isn’t a priority.

That may not be the way the board members actually feel but the way the vote was handled certainly allows that to be the perception.

Time was of the element in this search, so that the new superintendent can assist with ongoing principal searches in the district.

However, that doesn’t seem like a strong enough reason to rush a critical decision for the school system.