May 2, 2014

The East Sac County Community School District Board of Education voted Thursday afternoon to pursue a superintendent sharing agreement with Jeff Kruse.

Kruse is currently a shared superintendent between Southern Calhoun and Rockwell City-Lytton schools districts, which will officially consolidate to become South Central Calhoun schools on July 1.

Kruse has been shared between the Rockwell City-Lytton and Southern Calhoun districts for three years. Before moving into what will be the South Central Calhoun district, he was the shared superintendent between IKM and Walnut community schools districts for three years, and then between the IKM and Rockwell City-Lytton districts for three years.

Originally from Lake View, Kruse started his career as a business education teacher in Wall Lake.

East Sac School Board President Chris Rodman cited Kruse's lengthy experience - 18 years as a superintendent, nearly a decade as a shared superintendent - as well as a strong background in finance and larger districts as key reasons to pursue an agreement.

The board interviewed both Kruse and Kurt Brosamle, superintendent of Ar-We-Va schools, during a special board meeting on Monday.

The East Sac district's search for a superintendent followed the resignation of current superintendent Kevin Fiene, who has taken a position with the Interstate 35 School District, located about 30 miles south of Des Moines, so he and his wife can live closer to their three adult children who live in West Des Moines and Centerville. Fiene has been East Sac superintendent for four years.

By sharing a superintendent, the two districts will each qualify for about $50,000 a year in sharing incentives from the state for up to five years, in addition to splitting the cost of the position.

The next step in the process will be for the East Sac County and South Central Calhoun school boards to negotiate specific terms of a shared superintendent contract. Until such an agreement is signed, the arrangement is not final.

In action at its regular meeting on Monday, April 21, the East Sac County board approved a calendar for the 2014-15 school year. The calendar includes 14 four-day weeks. The days have been extended by 10 minutes, running from 8:15 a.m. to 3:25 p.m. School will start on August 20 and end on May 21.

The board has also started to look at ways to reconfigure the district in the next two to five years, said Fiene.

The district received financial incentives when the Sac and Wall Lake View Auburn districts consolidated three years ago, but they will not continue much longer, Fiene said. The $40 million to $50 million cost of building a new K-12 facility is "prohibitive" and as enrollment continues to decline, the board will consider five scenarios:

- Closing its Wall Lake elementary building and moving students to Sac Elementary.

- Closing Sac Elementary in Sac City and moving those students to Wall Lake elementary.

- Closing the middle school building in Sac City and moving those students to the high school in Lake View.

- Converting Wall Lake and Sac City elementary buildings into prekindergarten through sixth grade buildings, and closing the middle school in Sac City and converting the high school into a combined junior high and high school building.

- Moving all the students to two buildings.