SARASOTA — It’s up in the air whether the Sarasota County Schools will be able to fill the superintendent position by its initial June deadline.
“At this time, the School Board is still proceeding with the overall search timeline, as scheduled,” spokesperson Kelsey Whealy said.
However, School Board member Bridget Ziegler doesn’t think that timeline is still feasible.
“It is my belief there is no conceivable way we can continue with the superintendent search timeline previously adopted,” Ziegler said.
“These are very unique and challenging times and we will have to amend things accordingly,” she added.
The Florida Department of Education released additional guidelines for school boards Tuesday, including the rule that boards cannot meet face-to-face before June 30, unless virtually and for emergency purposes.
As a result, there will be no workshop or board meetings March 24.
The district had originally scheduled four community and staff forums scheduled to provide staff and members of the public an opportunity to give input about the search. However, after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people, these were postponed.
The CDC later amended these guidelines to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people.
There is an online survey available on the district website for members of the public to provide their input.
Staff were emailed a survey March 11, to provide their input.
The board had planned on finalizing the qualifications they’re looking for in applicants for the superintendent position April 7. At this point, the qualifications have not been finalized and the position has not yet been advertised.
“We cannot answer your questions until we meet again with the board,” said Andrea Messina, executive director of the Florida School Board Association.
FSBA has been contracted by the district to assist in its search.
“Given this unprecedented global health event, we are respecting the board’s need to address immediate district needs before we press them for more guidance on this,” Messina said.
Since the position has not yet been advertised online, FSBA and the district have not received any applications.
Whealy said once FSBA processes an application, that application will be given to the district to post on the district website.
Currently, the timeline states the board hopes to choose a superintendent by June 22. The board would meet July 14 to approve the new superintendent’s contract, and the start date would be determined.
It is not clear at this time how the coronavirus pandemic and school closures will affect the timeline, and the search overall.
For information about the superintendent search and to access the community survey, visit sarasotacountyschools.net/superintendentsearch.