116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids school board retroactively approved a contract for interim Superintendent Art Sathoff in a 6-1 vote Monday, agreeing to pay $167,000 through the end of June.
Sathoff, 56, was named interim superintendent of the district in October, also a 6-1 vote.
Board member Dexter Merschbrock opposed both, saying in an interview he had concerns about a role that Sathoff, the retired superintendent of the Indianola Community School District, played outside the district. Sathoff was a part-time associate pastor at the Indianola Church of Christ.
“Prior to meeting with Mr. Sathoff, I shared my concerns with the board president and vice president about his public leadership role in another organization,” Merschbrock told The Gazette. “I remain concerned that the views of that organization, which could be viewed as discriminatory, makes Mr. Sathoff the wrong fit to be the public face of our school district.”
Another member, Jennifer Borcherding, voted both for the interim hiring and also to approve the contract, but briefly expressed concerns Monday about the hiring process.
“Although it was extraordinary and terrible circumstances, I feel the process we followed was flawed” in selecting an interim superintendent, Borcherding said before voting “yes” on Sathoff’s contract.
She did not elaborate on why she felt the process was flawed. In a board meeting Oct. 26, school board President David Tominsky said Sathoff came "highly recommended" by Roark Horn, executive director of the School Administrators of Iowa. The school board sat down with Sathoff in a closed session last month before voting to approve him as interim superintendent.
The contract calls for the $167,000 salary through June 30, as well as benefits.
Last month, the board selected an Illinois firm — Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates — to identify candidates to become the next superintendent, possibly as early as January.
Former Superintendent Noreen Bush, 51, died Oct. 23. She was diagnosed with cancer more than two years ago. After she went on family medical leave in September, school board approved her resignation, effective June 30, setting in motion a superintendent search process.
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