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School principal committee to interview candidates

A search committee has reviewed 15 candidates for the principal position at Louis L'Amour Elementary School, according to Robert Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public School District, at the School Board meeting on Monday.

The committee will move forward to the interview process to identify a candidate to recommend at the April 8 School Board meeting, Lech said. The new principal will replace Vikki Coombs, who will retire at the end of the school year.

"Things can change but our goal is to present a recommendation at the next School Board meeting," Lech said.

The School Board unanimously approved two recommendations from the co-curricular committee from the previous negotiation session as items for the next negotiating cycle. The items included a base pay increase for all department chairs from 16 percent to 18 percent, and to add the chairs of the art and consumer science departments to the increase, retroactive to the 2017-18 school year.

Larry Kopp, director of The Arts Center in Jamestown, presented the School Board an update on the Artist Residency Partnership. The partnership started in 1982 and is the longest active program of The Arts Center, he said.

"I have never seen a program with this close of a connection between the schools and a nonprofit," Kopp said. "It is a unique experience for young children who have the opportunity to study art with a professional artist."

The program has a $27,500 annual budget that includes $5,000 from St. John's Academy and $22,500 from Jamestown Public School District, he said. Involvement in the arts has been shown to improve test scores in addition to enhancing creative thinking and helping students to develop into well-rounded individuals, he said.

"The Arts Center is a great partnership," Lech said. "This is reason why we provide board education to show that programs are not just budget line items and that they have a significant impact on the kids.

In other business, the School unanimously approved the:

• 2016-2017 Superintendent's annual report.

• revised James Valley Career and Technology Center Agreement to reflect the addition of Gackle-Streeter Public School.

• satisfactory superintendent evaluation rating.