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District 150 board approves contract with consultant in formal search for new superintendent

Cass Herrington
Peoria Public Radio

Peoria School District 150 board members voted 4-to-3 Monday to hire an outside consultant to oversee the search for a new superintendent. 

The vote came after an outburst by board member Ernestine Jackson who wanted to table the vote until the board’s next meeting on Nov. 23.

"I am really opposed to bringing someone from outside, who don't know the district or the city" Jackson said. "This is too important."

Board Vice president Rick Cloyd says “time is of the essence” and the board needs to begin conducting a formal search as soon as possible. 

“And by taking this action, this does not mean that we are accepting or rejecting the current superintendent,” Cloyd said.

The agreement with the Illinois Association of School Boards to conduct the search is expected to cost the district between $10-14,ooo. IASB Consultant Thomas Leahy says internal candidates, like the district's interim superintendent, can be considered in the the search process. 

District 150 interim superintendent Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat’s contract expires June 30 of next year.

Jackson says she’s already noticed a difference in the school community since interim superintendent Sharon Kherat took the job.

"“And if we don’t sit down and talk about this in a real way, we’re going to go right back to where we were. An I don’t want to go back there,” Jackson said.

The District employed an outside firm in the hiring of her predecessor former superintendent Grenita Lathan. But Cloyd says this time, the district is using a state-run consultant who will have a better grasp of local needs.