A routine reorganizational meeting for the Pierce City R-6 Board of Education became another matter last Tuesday night. The board signed Superintendent Russell Moreland to a contract extension amid concerns that Moreland planned to take another position elsewhere.
Monett R-1 School Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann has confirmed Moreland was being considered as the next director at the Southwest Area Career Center.
Before the Pierce City School Board could meet in closed session, more than 50 patrons packed the high school library to express support for Moreland, who is in his third year as superintendent.
The floor was opened to comments by patrons. Former board member Kevin Hatfield led off by speaking directly to Moreland.
|"You have a lot of support in the community. We want to encourage you to do what's right in your heart. We're here for you," Hatfield said.||Moreland received two rounds of applause, including a standing ovation, during Hatfield's comments.|
Additional comments focused on personal matters. Hatfield said that if Moreland had any failures, it was that his "open door policy is open too far. You've brought credibility back to the community," Hatfield added.
Patron John Vincent offered an apology for not providing enough support for Moreland and commended the superintendent for his off-the-clock volunteering to help the summer ball program.
At the end of the open session, the patrons present formed a line to shake hands and exchange a personal word with Moreland, who has been at the district since 2001, serving as high school principal up to the time he was named to succeed Lois Klatt as superintendent.
After more than an hour in closed session, during which Moreland went home to discuss the situation with his wife, the board announced Moreland had agreed to stay. Board members approved a one-year extension on Moreland's contract, retaining his services as superintendent through the 2011-12 school year.
Other business in open session included certifying the results of the April 7 election. Board Chairman Randy Staponski said that for the bond issue to have passed, 140 "no" votes would have had to be changed, "a pretty significant number," Staponski observed. The lease purchase proposal would have required changing 167 votes.
Two-term incumbent Fred Slagle and first-time candidate Mike Zebert took the oath of office from Board Secretary Debbie Hogan. Outgoing board member Kenny O'Hara received a plaque of appreciation, presented by Moreland, for his six years on the board. O'Hara got a round of applause from the audience.
In choosing leaders for the coming year, the board elected James Barchak as chairman. Staponski indicated he did not want another consecutive year as chairman but did accept the post as vice chairman. David Jones was elected board treasurer. Kent Boursheski was selected as delegate to the Missouri School Boards Association and Mike Zebert was named alternate.
Hogan was retained as board secretary.