Both of Noble County's public school districts are looking for new superintendents.
Caldwell Exempted Village Superintendent William Brelsford was placed on unpaid medical leave in January and has been replaced by former Marietta City Superintendent Dora Jean Bumgarner on an interim basis as the district moves toward a critical levy vote in May. Meanwhile, longtime Noble Local Superintendent Dan Doyle is retiring at the end of July and aiding that district in its search for his successor.
Although both districts are neighbors to Washington County, where Fort Frye and Warren Local Schools have been sharing the services of a superintendent and treasurer for nearly a year, that doesn't appear to be in the cards in Noble County.
"It has been discussed," said Caldwell board of education President Abby Crock, adding that it is not being pursued at this time.
Doyle said the districts have shared various services in the past, including a psychologist, gifted teachers and chemistry and physics faculty members, but sharing a superintendent doesn't seem to be a good fit at this time.
"The question becomes what level of service is acceptable," he said.
Caldwell has been placed under the "fiscal caution" designation by the state, meaning its five-year forecasts have shown deficits in the second year of their projections. The district is pursuing the renewal of a 12-mill levy plus an additional 7 mills to head off $920,000 in cuts - including the elimination of 16 positions - that otherwise would have to be made, Crock said.
Without commenting directly on Caldwell's needs, Doyle said that district's situation might rightly demand more than 50 percent of a superintendent's time. He recalled a time when his district was struggling financially a few years ago and said that would not have been a good time to share leadership services either.
Crock said it is difficult to be searching for a full-time superintendent while pursuing such an important levy, but the district is "very fortunate" to have someone as experienced as Bumgarner assisting them.
"We couldn't have a better interim superintendent," she said.
Bumgarner, a Marietta resident, served 10 years as superintendent of Marietta City Schools and has worked on an interim basis at several school districts since retiring, including two stints at Fort Frye.
"I don't really want to (completely retire)," Bumgarner said Friday. "I like working in different districts."
Applications for the Caldwell job are being accepted through March 29, while the deadline for Noble Local applicants is Friday.
Crock said the Caldwell district is seeking a superintendent who is hard-working and passionate about doing what's best for students.
"We are looking for someone who is going to give us 110 percent," she said. "It's a very difficult position to fill given our current situation."
Interviews are expected to start April 15, and the contract would begin July 1.
Doyle, who has been Noble Local's superintendent for 12 years, said his board also wants a "student-oriented leader."
"They're looking for, I think, someone with all the leadership qualities you hear. But as much as that, I'd say they're looking for someone to be part of the community ... (and with) good moral values," he said.
The timeline on the Noble search calls for two rounds of interviews in April, with a decision expected later that month or in early May.