Boucher named new CUSD #404 superintendent

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Alan Boucher

Alan Boucher was named the new Community Unit School District #404 superintendent by the board of education by a unanimous vote at its Dec. 17, 2008 meeting. The audience of nearly 70 individuals burst into applause after the vote. He will take over the helm July 1, 2009. The board held a one-hour executive session to discuss personnel and contracts and came back to first vote on an interim superintendent.

Frank Bochman was nominated to take over the interim spot at a salary of $62.50 per hour. A six to one vote from the board, with the one dissent from board member Trisha Hank, sealed the fate for the new district for the upcoming six months.

Board president Dwight Shoemaker answered the question that was on many people's minds about hiring an interim saying the board had "many things to be done between now and July.

"Busing alone is a full time issue that needs to be addressed directly," he said. Besides transportation, issues such as curriculum needs to be dealt with. "Yes it does cost money to open a school."

Shoemaker said that Bochman was a good choice because he was familiar with both districts, having been the superintendent at Westmer in the past and serving as an interim superintendent in Aledo.

Terms and the contract for Boucher will be determined at a later date.

The board also authorized Bochman to enter into discussion with Johannes Bus Service for a possible contract for part of the new district's transportation next year.

The first hour of the school board meeting revolved around transportation, after the initial public comment.

There was just one audience member signed up to address the board. Doyle Speer, who is currently a school board member on the Aledo CUSD #201 board, spoke about the public comment portion of the meetings. He said that individuals who addressed the board would better be served if a dialogue could occur with the board responding. "People spend their time and deserve an answer to their concerns."

He suggested that board members needed to become educated about their positions and said there was training offered by the Illinois Association of School Boards.

"I'm a parent concerned about my daughters," he said. He said the board needed to address issues like curriculum that would benefit both honor students and special needs individuals. "How are you going to advance the curriculum?" he asked.

Transportation issues

Shoemaker told the board that 60 percent of the district's costs for transportation come from the district and 40 percent from the state.

He invited input from Mark Cavanaugh, transportation director for the United School District, on general transportation issues and asked questions of Ernie Dillie, current transportation manager and mechanic in the Westmer District. Steve Johannes of Johannes Bus Service, the company contracted for Aledo's bus service was also present in the audience.

For more on this story, see the Dec. 24, 2008 issue of The Times Record.