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School board could change evaluation system for Browder

By Staff | Mar 11, 2009

Members of the Lee County School Board will vote later this month on whether ratings in Superintendent James Browder’s evaluation should be removed.
Each board member rates the superintendent from 1 to 3 in a number of professional categories — leadership, information, strategic planning, customer focus, human resources and process management — and each rating is later averaged together.
A new proposal, titled Board Policy 1.061, would change the system by striking the highest and lowest rating received.
Some board members believe the change would provide a more realistic average of the superintendent’s performance, while others see it as way to silence any dissent and exclude low ratings.
Over the years the district has grown accustomed to eliminating the two outliers. But, according to board attorney Keith Martin, there has never been an official rule in place.
Chairman Jane Kuckel supported the proposal and said it gives a more accurate rating of performance. She added that the evaluations are public records and can be requested by anyone in the community interested in studying the superintendent’s performance.
“I think it is a good idea, it controls strong outliers and gives us an average,” Kuckel said. “The process we used in the past was fair to everyone.”
Board Member Robert Chilmonik said he could not support the motion. At the end of 2008 Chilmonik gave the superintendent a rating of 1.5 in his evaluation, while other board members gave him between a 2.8 and 2.95.
“We are elected individually and each of us should have what our evaluation is,” said Chilmonik. “It needs to be in there.”
If passed the new system would also be employed to rate the school board attorney.
The controversial excerpt of the proposed board policy reads: “After removing the highest and lowest ratings, the remaining ratings of the evaluations completed by the individual school board members shall be averaged to calculate the rating for the composite board evaluation.”
The school board is expected to vote on the proposed system at its March 24 action meeting.