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Goffstown board begins search for new principal

GOFFSTOWN - The school board Monday night took steps to immediately begin searching for someone to replace former Mountain View Middle School principal Jim Hunt, who resigned suddenly last month. The board set a salary range for the new principal at $90,000 to $98,000.

"If we want good candidates, we can't be cheap," SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley told the board. "If you want to go from $90,000 to $98,000, I think that's a range that will attract some good candidates."

Buckley's comments were in response to a suggestion from board member Suzanne Tremblay, who recommended the board set a range of $90,000 to $95,000, leaving room for negotiation on a salary amount higher than $95,000.

The board also voted to convene a 17-member search committee made up of representatives from Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton. Search committee members would be made up of school board members from the respective towns, members of the public and administrators who currently work for the SAU.

Under the timeline approved by the board, April 16 will be the date for closing the application window, followed by an April 30 deadline for committee members to discuss which applicants would make it to the first grouping of between 8 to 10 candidates.

The field of candidates will then be narrowed to three finalists, all of whom would meet with the school board, parents, faculty, students and staff at the middle school from May 21 to 23. A finalist will be selected by June 17.

"It's my recommendation that we go forward and see what's out there," Buckley told members of the board when it was suggested the timeline for the search was placed on a tight schedule.

The school board is searching for a new middle school principal after Hunt resigned on March 15. Hunt's departure marked the end of a seven-year stint in which he came under increasing criticism for allegedly overseeing a dysfunctional and hostile educational environment for some faculty and staff at the middle school. His resignation came on the eve of a townwide vote in neighboring Dunbarton where residents decided to leave the 40-year Authorized Regional Enrollment Agreement (AREA) with Goffstown and instead send students to Bow under a new AREA agreement with that community. Dunbarton will start sending its students to Bow schools beginning in 2014.

Dunbarton's decision to leave SAU 19 will mean an annual loss of revenue of about $2 million.

The search for a new principal also comes as Buckley is leaving. She announced last month that she has accepted a position as superintendent in the Newfound Area School District in Bristol.

Last week, the SAU 19 board voted to appoint an interim superintendent to replace Buckley. A search for a permanent replacement for her is scheduled to begin in the fall and will likely take about seven months to conduct.

Despite Dunbarton's decision to join Bow under a new AREA agreement, Dunbarton representatives on the SAU 19 board told members from Goffstown that they wanted to have input on the search for a new principal at MVMS.

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