L-M board to hire interim head

LAURENS – The Laurens-Marathon board of directors voted unanimously to offer the job of interim superintendent to Tom Nugent at a special board meeting Monday night.

Nugent, a retired superintendent who previously worked at the Northwood-Kensett Community School District, will serve as interim superintendent for the last four months of the 2013-2014 academic year for the Laurens-Marathon Community School District.

He was selected following the school district’s request to local area education associations, which provided names of candidates to the school board. Nugent was selected after an interview process which began last week after the resignation of former Superintendent Iner Joelson.

Board members praised Nugent, who was not present at the special meeting.

“I was very impressed when he came in this morning,” board President Matt Tate said. “He was very honest with us and said there are some things that need to be done. He was very confident that they can be done.”

Tate said he would contact Nugent after the meeting and inform him of the board’s decision. Nugent had told board members that he was prepared to start working as early as this morning.

Among the issues facing Nugent are a projected $200,000 budget shortfall the district will experience at the end of the school year in June.

Board Vice President Brett Fehr said Nugent has helped districts facing financial issues in the past.

“I made several phone calls and everybody I talked to said he has a very strong financial background,” Fehr said. “He also told me that if he doesn’t have an answer that he has lots of contacts in his phone that he can call.”

Nugent is expected to work at the school part time and be paid by the day.

The board said they will decide at a later date if they want to advertise for a full-time superintendent in the fall.

In addition to the offer made to Nugent, the board also discussed a special public meeting that will be held Thursday with a financial support specialist from the Iowa Association of School Boards.

Tate said even though the district is facing financial difficulties and issues with low enrollment, the situation will get better.

“A lot of good things are going to happen,” Tate said. “It’s looking very good. It’s just going to take some time.”