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Murley to be new Iowa City School District superintendent

BY HOLLY HINES | APRIL 28, 2010 7:30 AM

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Stephen Murley will lead the Iowa City School District as its newest superintendent.

School Board members announced they had chosen Murley, from Wausau, Wis., from a pool of three candidates at their Tuesday board meeting. Murley will replace Lane Plugge, who is leaving to take a similar position.

Board President Patti Fields said members chose Murley because he stood out as a good communicator.

The board members said they agreed Murley seemed capable of making decisions based on collaborative input. Likewise, Murley said he plans to utilize community and university resources.

“I think having a Big Ten research institution in town makes this a unique environment for education,” he told The Daily Iowan Tuesday evening. “I think we can leverage some university resources and have access to those thoughts and ideas.”

Murley, who has served as superintendent of the Wausau School District for five years, will likely return to Iowa City in May to attend a community meet-and-greet, board members said.

Murley inherits a School District with a variety of pending issues. For months, officials have weighed options for dealing with redistricting, budget cuts, and overcrowded schools.

At the board’s meeting Tuesday, district officials also discussed possible budget cuts; officials need to cut between $1.2 million and $2 million from the district’s general fund.

District officials may need to eliminate the financial equivalent of eight full-time positions, and they could cut several positions depending on how much funding they need to recover in the end, Assistant Superintendent Jim Behle said.

Other areas in which district officials are eyeing cuts include transportation costs, early retirement funds, and energy-related costs.

Officials must notify district faculty and staff of possible terminations by April 30 and are preparing for the worst case scenario, Behle said.

If positions are cut, the district may rehire some of the individuals at a later date.

Schools have been hard hit by state budget gaps across the country. Late last year, Gov. Chet Culver issued a 10 percent across-the-board cut to all state departments, including allocations to school districts across the state.

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