2/21/2023: KPS picks search company

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The Daily News and Events Roundup

For those who live, work, and play in Kalamazoo County

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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KPS leaders have picked a company to help them find a new superintendent. Also: Kalamazoo County’s embattled treasurer is scheduled to give a financial report while under oath later today. And plans for a “pod” community in Kalamazoo may finally move forward after the selection of a site.

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KPS taps Iowa company to run superintendent search

The Kalamazoo Public Schools has picked an executive search firm based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help it conduct its search for a new superintendent. Ray and Associates has previous experience finding superintendents for districts in Michigan. Trustees said they were by far the most impressive of the four search firms they interviewed last week.

Board President TiAnna Harrison said their search will be an inclusive process that will involve input from the public. “I want to re-emphasize that this board understands that this is the most important thing that we will be doing. And we’ll be doing our due diligence in doing this work,” she said. The most important quality a new superintendent will have is a focus on student achievement and instruction goals. Harrison said that quality is “non-negotiable.” They hope to conclude their search by late spring and have a new superintendent on board by mid-summer.

Embattled county treasurer ordered to present financial report today

Kalamazoo County Treasurer Thomas Whitener is scheduled to give a presentation on the state of the county’s finances under oath later today. The county commission voted two weeks ago to require the report under oath as Whitener faces scrutiny over his running of the department. County leaders have grown increasingly frustrated with the treasurer after several mistakes over the past few months, including his failure to present timely reports and a situation where he nearly defaulted on a county loan. For his part, Whitener has said he’s had to contend with staffing shortages and the switchover to new accounting software.

Whitener’s report will come during the county commission’s Committee of the Whole meeting at 4pm this afternoon. He is expected to give accurate and current data on the county’s finances along with a report on its 4th quarter investments. Those must be accurate before the county undergoes its annual audit. If he is unable to give the report, or if it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, commissioners could take action against him. Whitener was elected treasurer in 2020 even though he lacked any particular financial experience.

More News You Need To Know

Kzoo signs off on ‘pod’ community plan

The City of Kalamazoo has signed an agreement with a local nonprofit that will allow it to move forward with plans for a “pod” community for the unhoused. The location is as-yet unnamed, but the agreement gives Housing Resources Inc. the go-ahead to lease or purchase a plot of land somewhere in the city for the project. HRI Associate Director Jacob Beach told commissioners on Monday that they’re already at work on the plan. “We are currently working with a firm to develop a development plan and a site plan,” he said, though he wouldn’t disclose where the site is.

The plan to build a small-home community in Kalamazoo was first launched in 2021. HRI bought 50 “pod” structures in order to provide warmth and shelter to more than 66 unhoused people during the winter. The project immediately ran into trouble as supply chain issues delayed delivery of the pods and HRI faced complaints over a proposed location in the Edison Neighborhood. Now, the pods have been delivered and await a location to set them up. Under the agreement, HRI has six months to buy or lease the unnamed site in Kalamazoo. [MLive]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo Restaurant Week – Downtown Kalamazoo

Reifying Black Geographies: The Tropical Performances of Maya Angelou and Josephine Baker (virtual) – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
12:00PM 2/21

Meet TJ Klune, 2023 Portage CommuniTeen Read Author – Portage Zhang Senior Center
6:00PM 2/21

Black History Month Bingo – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
6:00PM 2/21

Romantic Melodies – Kalamazoo Male Chorus
7:30PM 2/21

From Chinatown to Every Town: How Chinese Immigrant Entrepreneurs Have Expanded Restaurant Business in the United States – WMU
3:30PM 2/22

Board Game Night – Main Street Pub, West Main
6:00PM 2/22

Designing Native Plant Gardens: Minimizing the Error in Trial and Error – Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones
7:00PM 2/22

3 of a Kind – Hilton Garden Inn
7:00PM 2/22

Whiskey Myers – Wings Event Center
7:00PM 2/22

Gaelic Storm – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/22

Mardi Gras Bash – Crafted Copper
8:30PM 2/22

Tough Topics: The Absence Of Money Talk For Our Youth – Black Arts & Cultural Center
3:30PM 2/23

Happy Hour with Steve – The Park Club
4:30PM 2/23

Locating Identity in the Abstract: A Panel Conversation – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
6:00PM 2/23

KFS Local Filmmaker Showcase – Kalamazoo Film Society
6:30PM 2/23

Team Trivia at the Library – Richland Community Library
7:00PM 2/23

The Mountaintop – Kalamazoo College, Nelda K. Balch Playhouse
7:30pm 2/23-25, 2pm 2/26

Sophistafunk w/ The Mainstays – Bell’s Eccentric Café
8:00PM 2/23

Tab Benoit WSG JD Simo – State Theatre
8:00PM 2/23

Karaoke – Shakespeare’s Pub
8:30PM 2/23

See more upcoming events here.

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