Mountain View Voice

News - July 1, 2011

School district seeks public's help in CBO search

by Nick Veronin

In an admittedly unorthodox move, the Mountain View Whisman School District has asked the local community to help in its search for a new chief business officer.

"It is a little unusual," said Craig Goldman, the district's superintendent. "CBO positions are different than other school administrator positions," he added — noting that the types of skills needed for the job "could be developed in a variety of settings," not only within the world of public education.

Goldman will take on many of the duties of former district CBO Shaw-Lee Ouyang, who was granted a three-month leave of absence, until a replacement is found. At the end of Ouyang's leave, she is scheduled to return to her previous position as director of finance for the district.

Goldman would not comment on the reasons behind Ouyang's leave. However, he said, "Shaw-Lee has been, and continues to be, a critical member of our team."

The CBO position was created in July of 2010, when Goldman stepped out of his former role as chief financial officer to take over for the departing superintendent, Maurice Ghysels.

In a move intended to save money, Ouyang was promoted to CBO and her former position was left unfilled; the district office shrunk by one position as the duties formerly handled by the CFO were spread out among several administrators, including Goldman and Ouyang.

"We thought that this was a better alignment," Goldman said of the arrangement. "We tried something; it didn't work the way we wanted it to, and we are returning to the scenario we had before."

In returning to the prior scenario, the overall salary load of the district office will increase by about $60,000 annually, Goldman said. However, the number of employees working in the district office will stay the same, as Ouyang's return coincides with the departure of a technical staff member who will not be replaced.

According to the email sent out from the district office, the CBO will be responsible for budget, finance and fiscal services; facilities and operations; transportation; and food services.

"The position requires a master's degree in business, public administration, or education, and at least five years of experience in financial management and oversight," the email reads. "While it is not required to have previously worked directly for a school district or to have a teaching credential, a successful candidate should be familiar with the structure of a school district and the unique nature of school finance."

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