New Findlay superintendent ‘happy to be here’




Staff and students at Findlay City Schools met their future superintendent on Monday.

Edward Kurt and his family attended Monday’s school board meeting.

“I’m very happy to be here and excited to be the next superintendent of Findlay City Schools,” Kurt said.

He was named Findlay’s superintendent earlier this month, ending a search that started in October. Kurt was one of the original applicants for the job and became one of three finalists in January.

He will begin his new duties Aug. 1.

“It’s been a long process, but throughout it, Ed rose to the top,” said Shane Pochard, board president. “We look forward to Kurt moving us up from here.”

Kurt will replace outgoing Superintendent Dean Wittwer, who has been the district’s school chief for nine years. Wittwer will work with Kurt during his transition into the position.

“I look forward to working with him and welcome him and his family to the area,” Wittwer said.

Kurt will have a starting salary of $138,000 and the potential to get a 2 percent raise each year for the first two years of his contract.

Kurt’s contact also requires him to move into the district by July 31, 2015, and Kurt has said he plans to do so before he starts in August.

“I’m really honored,” Kurt said.

The school board on Monday also discussed how to make up snow days. The district has taken eight “calamity” days, three more than the five allowed by the state per school year. Wittwer said the district is lucky it doesn’t have more than eight.

“Keep your fingers crossed,” he said. “Luckily, we’re not in as difficult a position as some other districts” in the region.

The Findlay district already made up one snow day on Presidents Day, meaning it has to make up two more.

The district won’t consider more drastic measures to make up days, such as having classes on Good Friday or spring break, or having students come to school on Saturdays, unless several more school days are called off because of weather.

Findlay has never had students attend school on Saturdays, but Wittwer said he’s seen other schools do it.

“We’re not looking at that right now,” Wittwer said. “What we do is we look at schedules and ‘vet’ makeup days with our principals.”

Wittwer said he hopes the state Legislature passes a bill allowing the district to make up days in half-hour increments tacked onto the school day.

Last week, the Ohio House passed a measure that would allow schools to do just that, and also would give districts two additional calamity days this school year.

Wittwer is concerned about making up the missed teaching time before state testing begins.

“Our students have lost a lot of time,” he said. “It’s like 50-some hours of schooling.”

The board also briefly discussed the option of making up days online, something Wittwer has been against.

“It still takes away that contact time our students would be getting with their teachers,” he said.

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