School board sets date for search firm interviews

Mar. 10, 2014 @ 09:05 PM

The school board has set March 20 as the date to hear proposals from four firms that have submitted proposals to conduct the school district’s superintendent search.
The school board will invite McPherson & Jacobson LLC., of Omaha, Neb., Ray and Associates Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Raleigh-based North Carolina School Board Association and BWP & Associates, of Libertyville, Ill., to Durham to make presentations and to be interviewed by the board.
“Hopefully, after the end of that, we’ll be able to make a selection,” said school board Chairwoman Heidi Carter. “That would be my goal.”
Still unclear Monday, however, was the pace at which the board will try to hire a superintendent to replace Eric Becoats who resigned in December under a cloud of controversy over his management of the district.
The school board election in May will deliver at least two school board members to replace Nancy Cox and Fredrick Davis, who are not seeking re-election. 
At some point, the board will have to decide whether the current board or the new board seated in July will hire the new superintendent.
Carter said the board will weigh the options, but doesn’t feel the need to rush the process.
“We want to do a careful and thorough job,” Carter said.
The board agreed last week not to invite PROACT Search of Wilmette, Ill., to town for an interview.
Here is what each firm chosen for an interview would charge to conduct the search:
-- Ray and Associates Inc., of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, would charge $28,000, plus expenses for its services. The price could be lower depending on what level of service the school board selects. The firm, which has offices in Sanford, is currently conducting the executive-director search for Neuse Charter School and previously conducted searches for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Guilford County Schools. It also was one of three search firms that submitted proposals to conduct Durham’s search in 2009.
-- BWP & Associates, of Libertyville, Ill., would charge $26,500, plus expenses that the firm estimates could cost as much as $8,550. The firm boasts of having conducted more than 800 successful executive searches. 
-- North Carolina School Board Association in Raleigh would charge $15,000 for its services, plus any expenses incurred. The $15,000 consulting fee is nearly double the $8,500 fee that the association charged in 2009 when it conducted the Durham search that yielded Eric Becoats, who resigned in December under a cloud of controversy. Over the past 15 years, the association has provided services to 75 North Carolina school boards.
-- McPherson & Jacobson LLC., is the Omaha, Neb.-based firm that conducted the recent superintendent search for the Wake County school board. McPherson & Jacobson’s base proposal is for $27,500 and the price could grow to as much as $37,880 with expenses.