March 28, 2001 11:00 pm

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

The La Grande School Board decided Wednesday to seek a permanent replacement for outgoing superintendent Jerry Sessions.

An interim superintendent serving for one year would potentially create a larger applicant pool for the permanent position.

Sessions, who has been in La Grande for two years, is leaving in June to become superintendent of the Hood River County School District. He accepted the position on March 15.

Members of the school board discussed seeking an interim superintendent because they have little time to find someone.

I dont want an interim. I feel that it would be a lost year if we had an interim, school board member Ron Arritola said.

Board member Craig Braseth added that hiring a permanent superintendent would save the school district the time and expense of conducting a second search next year.

The district will advertise the permanent position through the Oregon School Boards Association and the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators. There is no cost for this service.

A salary range of $80,000 to $90,000 will be advertised for the position.

Applications for the superintendents position will be accepted through May 4. Members of a screening committee will review applications May 7-11.

The committee will consist of about 25 members. It will include six community members, and one representative each from Eastern Oregon University, the City of La Grande and Union County.

School district representatives on the screening committee will include two administrators, two teachers, two classified staff members and the entire school board.

In addition, newly elected board members Steve Joseph and Glen Herman, who begin serving July 1, will be invited to be on the committee.

Screening committee members will be appointed by school board chairman Guy Weishaar at the boards April 25 meeting.