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Superintendent transferring to job as Chief Operations Officer

Kyle+Hayden+discusses+his+selection+as+superintendent+in+a+meeting+with+press+on+March+9%2C+2016.+Hayden+plans+to+transfer+to+a+position+as+the+district%27s+Chief+Operations+Officer+July+1.+
Kyle Hayden discusses his selection as superintendent in a meeting with press on March 9, 2016. Hayden plans to transfer to a position as the district's Chief Operations Officer July 1.

Kyle Hayden discusses his selection as superintendent in a meeting with press on March 9, 2016. Hayden plans to transfer to a position as the district's Chief Operations Officer July 1.

Cooper Avery

Cooper Avery

Kyle Hayden discusses his selection as superintendent in a meeting with press on March 9, 2016. Hayden plans to transfer to a position as the district's Chief Operations Officer July 1.

By Meredith Chapple

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Superintendent Kyle Hayden announced this morning that he plans to transfer to a job as Chief Operations Officer for the school district. He will begin this position July 1.

The move comes as Hayden nears the end of his first year as superintendent — a year that has included the successful passage of an $87 million bond issue but also challenges as the district addressed issues of race.

Lawrence Education Association member Jeff Plinsky said Hayden should excel in this new role.

“The district is on a sound financial footing,” Plinsky said. “We’re putting bond projects to the public, and we’re able to ask for money from the public with relatively small increases in taxes, which means they’ve been well planned. And the last bond issue, he [Hayden] was able to get stuff done and bring it in at the projected cost and not have to go back and ask for more money from the voters which is a good sign.”

With Hayden in this new position, Plinsky predicts the bond project will continue in a positive direction.

“Kyle’s been in on that bond from the get-go,” he said. “He knows it, he knows what’s going on with it, he knows what needs to be done, knows the players. So I think what happens here is the bond does not take a step backwards. I think it continues to move at the same positive rate that it has been.”

Hayden has been successful with previous bond projects. School board member Vanessa Sanburn said Hayden’s attention to detail will help him with the future project.

“I think with the passage of the secondary school bond, because he took such a leadership role on the elementary school bond and kind of shepherding all of that through with all of that attention to detail and management skills, I think the opportunity to do that again for our secondary schools was one he didn’t want to pass up on,” Sanburn said.

An interim superintendent will be selected to take Hayden’s place. The school board will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to discuss selecting an interim. Plinsky thinks the school board should look outside the district for a replacement.

“I think it probably would have to be someone who comes in from the outside,” he said. “It would not surprise me if this board conducted a national search. It would not surprise me if they brought someone in from a district that has dealt successfully with some of the issues that our community has raised.”

Sanburn said the board would like someone who is interested in connecting with the community and continuing the district’s equity and engagement goals.

The interim superintendent will face funding challenges, Sanburn said. After the Supreme Court ruled the state’s education funding unconstitutional, the Kansas legislature is struggling to come up with a replacement budget.

“We have the ability in our state to do a better job of funding schools adequately, and the Legislature has not taken action despite the courts like making a very clear statement saying that they must do that based upon our Kansas constitution,” she said. “That’s really challenging— managing a district without knowing what the budget is going to look like, what the budget projections are going to be, recruiting and retaining teachers, and managing various programs.”

Hayden said in a press release that he looks forward to continuing his work in the district in his new position.

“I feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to significant facility improvements for all of the elementary schools and to have played a leadership role in gaining the community’s investment in a plan to upgrade all of the secondary schools,” Hayden said. “I look forward to continuing to build upon these accomplishments by transforming Lawrence High School into a facility of which the community can be proud, adding space at Free State High School to accommodate enrollment growth, and modernizing all of the middle schools.”

The board will look for a superintendent in the fall and plans to name the next superintendent by Fall 2018.

“You’ve got a lot of varying factors going on and so it’s not gonna be an easy job to fill,” Plinsky said.

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Superintendent transferring to job as Chief Operations Officer