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Friday, July 11, 2014

Ruthven-Ayrshire superintendent Bunt resigns

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Superintendent Norene Bunt
The Ruthven-Ayrshire school district will be moving forward with new leadership in 2012-13 school year, following the resignation of Superintendent Norene Bunt at the district's board meeting Tuesday evening.

Bunt has been with the district since July 1, 2010, and her last day will be June 30.

Her resignation was announced following a closed session meeting that lasted about 15 minutes. The board voted 5-2 to accept the resignation, with Board President Ray Grandstaff and Vice President Susan Sikora opposed.

The vote capped an emotional night, as more than 30 staff and community members joined the meeting. Les Douma, of D & M Consulting Services in Orange City, facilitated discussions about board roles and responsibilities as well as recent successes, struggles and challenges of the district.

"We took comments from some of the people," Grandstaff said. "It was pretty emotional. Basically, it was the same things being said a year ago. ... The community has had some difficulty facing changes in the school. The end result we want is for the school to continue to be here and sometimes the process getting there is a difficult one."

Bunt's recommendations were not always popular, Grandstaff said.

"To step into a district and recommend cuts to the tune of $200,000 is a very hard thing to do and this cannot be done without someone not being happy," he said. "Dr. Bunt's prior job was dealing with improving reading proficiency, which was R-A's No. 1 goal. She observed classrooms, evaluated and worked with teachers. Some of this was new with teachers and was met with resistance."

Grandstaff believes Bunt had the best interest of the district and the students in mind.

"I do think Dr. Bunt cared very much for the students at Ruthven-Ayrshire and wanted the best for them," he said. "The board wanted better reading scores and proficiency and she was doing as the board had requested."

Prior to the news of Bunt's retirement, the board had discussed positive developments within the district.

Fiscal year 2011 expenditures were less than revenues for the first time in at least four years, improving the district's unspent balance and increasing the district's solvency ratio, which had declined to a serious level, Grandstaff said.

Technology, teaching strategies and improved communication also made the list of improvements.

"Dr. Bunt has changed our technology program with our own information technology person," Grandstaff said. "This was a great improvement and helps with cost and computer problems. Dr. Bunt has pushed forward with teaching strategies and tried to work with teachers to improve classroom instruction. Communication -- with the newsletters, website, open-door policy and community meetings -- has put the facts and information available for the public."

Following Bunt's resignation, the board did not immediately discuss finding a replacement.

"The board will have to decide what route to take to hire a new superintendent," Grandstaff said.

The next board meeting is scheduled for March 12.

Bunt could not be reached for comment prior to press time.

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With any luck the board president and vice-president will take their personal agendas and follow the ex-superintendent out the door.

-- Posted by rarams on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 10:35 AM

I guess I agree since they wanted to keep her when we all know how bad it has gotten.So sad when you think of all the employees with so many years of experience that made the choice to leave last year. Thank you to the ones who stayed and have weathered the storm!!

-- Posted by uslucky2 on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 3:29 PM

People making these comments should note the instructions placed above the comment box which include "be respectful of others". I have gotten used to comments being made about me, however unkind and erroneous some of them are but now other R-A staff members' names are being used which I highly object to. This article was about my resignation so the comments about other staff and Board members are not appropriate. They are also detrimental to the reputation of these individuals. In addition, people need to realize that this negative behavior is very harmful to the R-A school district as a whole as well as to the staff and students. Comments such as these serve no good purpose and should stop immediately if you honestly care about the R-A school district.

-- Posted by Norene.Bunt on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 4:36 PM

The sad thing is there are a few people that are afraid for the truth to be told about R-A school and their staff.

-- Posted by caseyduke on Fri, Mar 2, 2012, at 8:09 PM

Over the past 18 months I have seen alot of hate being vented on this forum from both R/A and CCE community members. I will acknowledge that there are some advantages to sending your kids to a small district, but there are benefits to a Spencer sized school as well; mainly curriculum choices and student diversity. While we may have different opinions on which is better, small school or larger school, we have that right and should be able to excercise it. What I have seen here has been a constant barrage of negative comments about school administrators and school board members that only bring down both your schools and towns, but have little to do with working toward a solution. How do you expect someone to move to your district when all they see is negativity? You people that have bashed your towns on this forum better have a plan to recruit new community members. In the future, I hope both your districts thrive and if you as a parent or community member have a grievance you need to try to solve that at the ground level by talking one to one with that adminstrator or school board member you have an issue with; not here or in the coffee shop. Throwing out negative and anonymous comments here offer no solutions other that to try to justify your own existence. We, by no means are perfect here in Spencer, but will take your kids if you choose that option. Thank you.

-- Posted by tiger.wrestler.fan on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 8:19 AM

Hmm, much as I suspected: a copy and paste.

-- Posted by notinia on Sat, Mar 3, 2012, at 5:40 PM

Copy and paste?

-- Posted by Mechler on Mon, Mar 5, 2012, at 2:53 PM

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