The first round of applicants for the new Redwood Area School District superintendent have been narrowed down to a handful.

Bruce Miles of Big River Group, LLC, who is serving as a consultant for the school board as it goes through this process, spoke via phone with members of the board Dec. 16 during the board’s regular meeting held one week early because of the holidays.

According to Miles, that group of candidates selected from the initial pool of applicants was sent another round of questions.

Those responses have now been given to members of the school board who will review them, score them and then return those reviews to Miles.

Miles said from that point the candidates who remain will then be asked to come to Redwood Falls for an interview.

Actually, each will go through a series of interviews, added Miles. That includes discussions with school staff and administration, as well as with the school board. That round of interviews is set for Jan. 13.

The interviews with the school board will also provide the opportunity for the public to come and learn about those superintendent candidates, and Miles said the public will also have the chance to pose questions of those being interviewed as well.

Miles told the board that the public will have the opportunity to submit their questions for the candidates, adding those questions will then be posed.

Miles added the reason for submitting questions is to ensure they meet legal and ethical interview standards.

The specific timeline for the Jan. 13 interviews has not yet been determined, as Miles explained that the schedule will be decided once he knows how many of the candidates are going to be part of that interview process. The more candidates there are, the longer the amount of time that will be needed.

“We want participation,” Miles told the board, adding the more input the school board receives the easier its decision becomes.

He added that also provides a greater chance for the entire community to find the candidate the school district really needs.

“If the community is involved, it will have greater faith in the new superintendent,” said Miles.

Following that Jan. 13 series of interviews, the board will decide which of those candidates will then be asked to return for a second round of interviews tentatively scheduled for Jan. 20.

Soon after that process the board will then make a decision about the person who will be the next leader of the school district.

In other action during its meeting, the school board:

• Assigned the general fund balances effective as of July 1, 2019. With the completion of the audit of the 2018-19 school year, the board could carry over funds in assigned areas. The board has assigned balances of $994,067 in a number of areas from instructional supplies to funds from fundraising for the Estebo Career Development and Training Center. The board currently also has $1,395,167 in its restricted/reserved fund balance and an unassigned fund balance of $2,444,203.

• Rescinded an Aug. 26, 2019 decision to pay $25,602.75 into a VEBA account for Rita Fasching and then authorized the payment of $23,783.25 (the amount after taxes) to the Rita Fasching Estate.

• Approved the employment of Shellie Mammen as a special education paraprofessional for 6.4 hours per day at a rate of $14 per hour, Shelby Helgeson as a Kindergarten paraprofessional at a rate of $12.75 per hour and Marissa Rasmussen as a special education paraprofessional for six hours per day at a rate of $14 per hour.

• Approved the employment of Jackie Ferrier as a long-term substitute payroll clerk at a rate of $25 per hour.

• Approved the employment of Annika Frey, Nevaeh Hoffman, Leah Irlbeck and Hailey Mohr as school paraprofessionals through the career mentorship program at a rate of $10 per hour. The students will work Monday through Friday from 9:50-10:20 a.m.