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BEND, OR -- The Bend-La Pine School Board saw a tremendous response to its recent opening. Wednesday night, they attempted to whittle down the list of more than two-dozen applicants. Initially, the board received 26 applications but one candidate dropped out prior to Wednesday's interview sessions, when candidates were divided into two groups.

 

Board Chair Peggy Kinkade likened the process to "speed dating." She told KBND News, "We're just taking 3.5 minutes; they knew in advance what the questions were going to be and we just cut to right the chase when they come and sit down at our table." Those questions included why they want to serve on the board and what are the district's strengths and weaknesses? During the process, Kinkade said, "It's going quickly, and I would love to be able to talk with everybody a little bit longer, but I do think I'm getting good information from the 3.5-minute conversation that we're having."

 

She was pleased with the pool of applicants. "It's a really outstanding crop of people. People are really passionate about public education, want to serve our community, seem to have really great interests in mind and no real particular personal agendas. I think it's going to be a difficult choice - a really quality group of applicants." Kinkade adds, "We plan to discuss this as part of our board meeting [Thursday], try and narrow the list of what's now 25 candidates down to five or fewer finalists. We would then be bringing that group back probably on February 27, which is a Monday - a week and a half from now - and do some in-depth interviews with those folks."

 

Kinkade is hopeful the board will make a final decision in time for the new member to attend the February 28 meeting, which is expected to be outgoing board member Nori Juba's last. 

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