Willson School File

The Bozeman Public Schools adminastrative offices are held at Willson School, photographed on Feb. 9, 2021.

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The Bozeman School Board will hold a special board meeting Wednesday to appoint an interim superintendent for next school year and approve an application for an online charter school.

Last week, the school board voted to appoint an internal interim superintendent for the 2021-2022 school year and postpone starting a national search for a permanent hire.

During the meeting, the trustees considered launching the search for a superintendent but there were concerns over the timeline, potential COVID-19 complications and the need for stability with the district.

The current interim co-superintendents Marilyn King and Casey Bertram were appointed through June 30 when Bob Connors was placed on paid administrative leave for an alleged policy violation in November.

The school board approved a severance package worth over $290,000 on Jan. 20, formally severing his contract with the district. Few details have been shared about the possible policy violation and Connors’ termination.

The new interim superintendent would be effective from July 1 through June 30, 2022, with the district beginning the superintendent search in the 2021-2022 school year.

The board members decided an internal interim superintendent would be the best option to eliminate a potential learning curve.

During last week’s board meeting, Cale VanVelkinburgh, principal of the Bozeman Online School, also presented to trustees on the charter school application process.

The Bozeman Online School has offered a 100% remote school option for kindergarten through eighth grades since August. In an effort to continue offering that option, the district is in the early stages of applying to create a charter school, the Bozeman Online Charter School.

The board will consider approving the charter school application on Wednesday. If approved, the application will be due to the state on March 1.

Families have until Feb. 22 to complete an interest survey for enrolling in the online school next academic year. Registration for the K-8 online school would open from March 22 to April 2.

The charter school would be what VanVelkinburgh has called ‘remote learning 3.0.’ It would be a combination of remote learning, in-person support and enhancement meetings, flexible scheduling, outdoor and community learning projects and competency-based learning.

The online high school option will also continue next school year but will operate as a school within a school, eliminating the need to become a charter school.

The board meeting will be held via Zoom on Wednesday at 5:45 p.m.

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Liz Weber can be reached at lweber@dailychronicle.com or 582-2633.

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