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posted: 9/23/2013 5:30 AM

Budget, superintendent search on Dist. 204 agenda

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When Indian Prairie Unit District 204 board members leave their meeting tonight, they expect to have a 2014 budget approved and a superintendent search firm chosen.

The board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. in the Crouse Education Center, 780 Shoreline Drive, Aurora, for votes on next year's spending plan as well as which firm should be asked to find the district's next top administrator when Superintendent Kathy Birkett retires at the end of this school year.

The proposed 2014 budget calls for $301.5 million in total spending to fund salaries and benefits, safety and security upgrades, curriculum changes, operations and maintenance, new technology and other costs. About $3.1 million of that total is deficit spending out of the district's fund balance.

Board members in July said they were comfortable dipping into reserves to afford items such as a $1.9 million chiller for Waubonsie Valley High School to replace a cooling machine from 1976, a $54,000 visitor management system for 32 sites, and the $30,000 salary of a part-time safety manager.

Near the end of the agenda, the board is scheduled to hire either McPherson & Jacobson LLC of Omaha, Neb., or Ray and Associates Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to conduct a search for the next superintendent. Both firms have starting fees in the range of $25,000 and have the capacity to search nationally for the type of candidate the board decides it wants.

Once a search firm is chosen and a contract is approved, board President Lori Price said next steps include seeking public input and developing a candidate profile.

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