BELLEFONTAINE — John Scheu is back on the job.
Scheu — who resigned July 31, 2018, as Sidney City Schools superintendent — was hired by the Benjamin Logan Local Schools to be its interim superintendent for one year. His first day on the job was July 14.
Scheu said when the superintendent’s position became available several months ago he had expressed an interest in becoming an interim superintendent.
“They (Benjamin Logan Board of Education) interviewed a number of candidates and they couldn’t reach a consensus,” said Scheu. “The head of the search committee, Scott Howell, who was also serving as interim superintendent, gave me a call and asked if I was still interested in the interim superintendent position.”
The board of education interviewed Scheu and offered him a one-year contract to be the district’s interim superintendent. He took over for Howell, who is also the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center superintendent.
“This could turn into something of a lengthy contract if the board likes the direction the district is going,” said Scheu.
The Benjamin Local district has approximately 1,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. The district is about half the size of Sidney’s district.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the team and being in a position to make a difference in the district,” said Scheu. “I’m humbled that Benjamin Logan wanted me to be part of the district.”
He said everything in the district — from school buildings to administration offices to athletic fields — is all on one campus.
“Everything is on one site,” said Scheu. “There’s a lot of advantages to that.”
Scheu faces several challenges in his new position. He — along with superintendents from across Ohio and the nation — will be focusing on a safe start to the 2020-21 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ESC superintendent, myself and district administrators are going over the plan to reopen the district,” said Scheu. “All Logan County school districts are receiving significant input from the Logan County Health Department.”
Another challenge is the financial situation of the district, he said.
“They had a levy that was voted down by 65% to 36% in the fall of 2019,” said Scheu. “The financial condition of the district is something I can help by getting a handle on that.
“We’re going to have good financial discussions to keep the district operating in the black,” he said.
Scheu said the district must regain the confidence of the community in order for the district to move forward.
“Some of the decisions of the past were not well received,” said Scheu. “I’ll be working hard to change that. I want to restore confidence of the school district within its community.
Scheu — who had been Sidney’s superintendent from 2011 to 2018 — faced similar financial disarray when he was hired by the Sidney Board of Education.
With the support of staff, the teacher’s union and board of education, the district turned a corner to financial stability. Teachers were cut and the remaining teachers took a salary reduction so the district could make ends meet. A salary freeze was in effect for all district employees.The district was able to pass a renewal levy which added to the financial health of the district.