Looney receives high marks from Board in first evaluation

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2006

Generally speaking, they're pleased.

That was the general mood towards Superintendent Mike Looney at Monday night's special called meeting of the Butler County Board of Education. Looney received a mark of 3.7 out of a possible 4 from the Board on his evaluation as he nears his one-year anniversary with the Butler County school system.

&#8220In my judgment this is an excellent score,” Board Member Joe Lisenby told Looney. &#8220I believe it reflects our delight in the job you are doing.”

Under state law, school systems are not required to evaluate the job of their superintendent until two years of employment. However, Looney asked the Butler County Board to complete an &#8220unofficial” evaluation that would give him an idea on how he is doing.

&#8220Overall, I was pleased with the evaluation,” said Looney. &#8220The challenge is to keep the momentum moving forward. Obviously, there is going to be dips and high spots in the road. Right now, I believe we're at a high spot. I appreciate the confidence of the board.”

Board members were provided a comprehensive 58-question evaluation and asked to rate Looney's job performance from one to four in each area. The results were made public on Thursday night, marking the first time in Butler County that a superintendent's evaluation has been discussed in the public arena.

&#8220This was a mutual understanding between the Board and myself,” said Looney. &#8220It's the right thing to do. I didn't try to prepare myself for the results. But I'm a public official and public business should happen in public.”

Board Member Linda Cook-Hamilton said judging from the evaluation it's clear Looney was exactly what the school system needed.

&#8220I believe with you (Looney) here we will become one of the state's best school systems,” she said.

Board Member Joanne Peak agreed.

&#8220I want to commend you on the job you've done in your first year, especially coming in to some of the situations you had to deal with,” she said.

Still, Looney said there are several areas that the board indicated a need for improvement. For example, Looney received a 3.2 concerning adequate maintenance and appearance up-keep at school facilities around the county.

&#8220We have a little way to go in making our grounds and buildings desirable,” Looney said. &#8220We have some pretty old buildings that have been neglected.”

The superintendent received a ‘3' from all board members for a statement concerning whether or not parents and the community believe the Butler County School System is a good place to send children.

&#8220To be honest, I think it's a very adequate description about how the board feels and how the public feels,” said Looney. &#8220It used to be that public schools had a monopoly on education. We do have parents that choose not to send their children to public schools and I think that (score) is an indication of that.”