The Grove School Board took the next step in narrowing the search for a new superintendent during the monthly meeting Tuesday.

Clara Mills, chairman of the school board, said approximately 30 people had submitted applications for the superintendent position.

Of those 30 applicants, board members have narrowed the search to seven candidates. 

Those candidates will take part in an interview process set for a special meeting at 8 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 20 at the administration building.

Mills said three employees of the school district applied for the position. All three are among those being interviewed on Jan. 20.

The board also discussed, during its hour long executive session, current superintendent Sandy Coaly's review.

Mills said it was hard for the board members to conduct an evaluation when "[Coaly] is leaving us and done such a fine job."

Dr. Jim Rutter, board vice chairman, joked Coaly's performance was "excellent" until she submitted her resignation, adding with a laugh "it was all down hill from there."

All of the board members expressed their thanks to Coaly for the work she has completed for the district during her tenure as superintendent. 

Coaly, who has been an educator for 41 years, will retire effective June 30. Of those years, 11 were with the Grove School District, first as the lower elementary principal and then as the superintendent.

Other business 

In other employment decisions, the board hired four individuals: Kathie Kirby as a seven hour cook; JoAnn Lueders transferring her to a seven hour cafeteria clerk; Brittany Robbins as a school nurse and Joshua Iliff as a full-time custodian. 

The board also heard from district administrators about happenings on the various campuses. 

Julie Bloss, principal for the Grove Early Childhood Center, gave a report about the installation of the school's STEM lab.

She said it should be up and running within the month, and will contain various projects including robots, a Lego wall, manipulatives and more.

In a related technology item, Kelly Trumbull, principal at the lower elementary, talked about the success classroom teachers are having now that the campus has gone one to one with electronic usage.

"Our teachers are on fire," Trumbull said. 

The board also voted, to approve Coaly's request to purchase six Clear Touch Interactive Touch Screens. from SHI International. 

The funding, approximately $25,989, will come from funds left over from the 2015 grant which funded technology improvements and the Performing Arts Center. 

Coaly said she determined who would receive the touch screens - which are considered the next generation of technology after the Smart Boards - by which teachers replied to an email asking how they will utilize the technology in their classrooms.

Coaly said six teachers responded to her request.

"It was a simple contest with no red tape," Coaly said, adding that many of the smart boards placed in the district in the last ll years, are starting to near the end of their lifespan.

"This is the thing of the future," Coaly said, adding the district may need to develop a plan for the eventual replacement of the smart boards. 

Financial news

In financial news, Coaly told the board the district is facing a cut of $125,000 in mid-term funding, but because the district's ad valorem funds are growing, the district should end the year with a "healthy fund balance."

The board also approve transferring $1,470 from Band activity account to a Band Trip account.