Traverse City Record-Eagle

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December 9, 2013

TCAPS reviews Cousins

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education will release their annual evaluation of the district’s superintendent during a meeting tonight.

TCAPS board members recently met in closed session — part of the time with Superintendent Stephen Cousins present and part of the time without him — to discuss Cousins’ performance over the last year. A written report compiled by board President Kelly Hall and based on individual board members’ evaluations is up for a vote tonight.

“The majority of the board believes Steve Cousins is doing a great job executing the strategic plan that was approved by the board of education,” Hall said.

Cousins signed on with TCAPS through the 2015 academic year after he accepted a one-year contract extension offered by board members following his 2012 evaluation.

Hall said district officials have not formally discussed an extension offer this year.

“There just has been no push for it, and because his contact has two more years on it based on the extension we had last year, there’s no sense of urgency,” Hall said.

Board member Scott Hardy said TCAPS struggled recently with voters’ rejections of two capital project bond referendums in as many years.

“Obviously, as the leader of the district he bears some responsibility for that and he accepted it,” he said. “(The evaluation) was not as ringing an endorsement this year as it was last year. I suppose the same could be said of the board.”

Board Member Gary Appel said he stands behind the Cousins-led 2013 bond campaign, even though the millage request failed.

Appel also called Cousins an “adept” leader during a time of diminishing state funds for public schools.

“Many districts have done draconian things in order to survive and some have been disbanded, as we’ve seen,” Appel said. “He’s managed to guide the district’s ship through very difficult waters in this state.”

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