Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Saturday

April 12, 2014

Suttons Bay weighs options for new schools chief

TRAVERSE CITY — Members of the Suttons Bay Public Schools Board of Education hope to have a new superintendent in place by the end of May to replace Michael Murray, who is retiring at the end of the school year after more than seven years as the district’s top administrator.

The school board hired a consultant from the Michigan Association of School Boards to assist in the search and recommend the best candidates to interview, but members also are exploring an unconventional avenue to fill the vacancy.

Board president David Buffum reached out to Northport Public School, Leland Public Schools and Traverse City Area Public Schools boards to see if the districts are interested in sharing any services. His request focused primarily on services such as student accounting or technology, but talk of sharing a superintendent cropped up in discussions with the TCAPS board.

“We have been trying to look at all the different options,” Buffum said. “If it’s unconventional, we’d give it a good hearing.”

TCAPS board member Gary Appel said there are several areas where sharing services with Suttons Bay could make sense for the district, but the board is still gathering information and crunching numbers to see if sharing a superintendent would be viable.

“I think it makes all the sense in the world for districts to explore where they can gain efficiencies in their operations,” Appel said. “The more dollars that we can target into instruction and into the classroom, the better off our students can be.”

He said there is the potential that a shared administrator could work, but the two boards would have to come up with a plan that benefits both districts.

Buffum said there isn’t a big push to share a superintendent, but the board doesn’t want to discount any option before looking at all the facts.

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