NASELLE - A petition has appeared in at least two local businesses - the Rosburg Store and the Naselle Hardware - petitioning the Naselle-Grays River Valley School Board to hire a full-time school superintendent.
The petition states: "We the under signed registered voters hereby petition the Naselle-Grays River Valley School District Board of Directors to hire a full-time superintendent who maintains a permanent residence and pays local property taxes, is a registered voter in the school district, is available on a daily basis to staff, parents, and citizens and is accountable and responsible for all aspects of the school district's operations."
Attempts to identify the person or persons responsible for the document have not been successful to this point.
Mike Swanson, owner of the Rosburg Store, and a sales associate at Western Real Estate Services, said by cell phone he was not the author of the document and did not know who had prepared the petition.
Lori Fanoni, owner of Naselle Hardware and Western Real Estate Services, said that she had given her permission for the petition to be made available at the hardware store when Swanson brought it to her.
Fanoni, a former school board member, said, "I signed the petition, not that I have anything against Gerald [Schmidtke, the current part-time school superintendent], but I feel that we should have a person who lives here in that position.
"I signed it mainly as a statement to the board," she said. "They had that exact situation, that the petition is requesting, three years ago with Robbie (Johnson) as the superintendent. Some of the board members, who were in office then, forced him out. Now I think we should go back to what we had."
Fanoni's comment about Johnson's termination as the part-time superintendent in 2000 refers to the fact that three school board members at that time, Steve Gacke, Ed Darcher, and Mike Queener, voted to terminate Johnson's contract at the end of that school year. The 3-2 board vote ended Johnson's term as superintendent/principal in the district.
Of those three board members, Darcher and Queener were defeated in their bid for re-election a year later. Gacke's term will expire at the end of this year, as he did not file to run for office in the upcoming election.
The local school district has had eight superintendents since A. R. (Dick) Grabenhorst retired in 1982, after a long career spanning nearly 30 years. The eight subsequent superintendents have served terms that averaged only 2.75 years in the 22 years since that time (calculated to June 2004).
Gerald Schmidtke, who came to Naselle as a part-time business manager in 1992, became the part-time superintendent in July 2000.