THREE OAKS — The River Valley Board of Education has scheduled interviews with five candidates for the position of district superintendent as follows.

On Aug. 2, the board will interview Ann Marie Cluff, superintendent of Eau Claire Public Schools, at 6:30 p.m.; Steven Disney, former superintendent of River Forest Community School Corp. in Indiana, at 7:30 p.m.; and Angela Piazza, superintendent of Cassopolis Public Schools, at 8:30 p.m.

On Aug. 3, the board will interview Sean Wightman, principal of Dowagiac Middle School, at 6:30 p.m.; and Ryan Goble, principal of Hull Elementary School in Benton Harbor, at 7:30 p.m.

The interviews will be in-person in the River Valley High School media center, and there will be an opportunity to provide feedback to the board after each interview.

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Interim River Valley Superintendent Dr. Andrea van der Laan on July 2 released the following list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding plans to renovate and make additions to the existing middle/high school building to house all of the district’s students.

“First of all I want to thank those of you who came to our Community Forum on Monday, June 28th! It was great to see so many of you in the audience. I want to especially thank those of you who have sent me some very nice notes in the past few days. I am doing my best to get information out to the community and to also start moving the district forward. We are making a lot of progress. Below you will see some additional questions that have been received this week. Please let me know if the answers don’t make sense.”

Q. What would the cost savings be in terms of bussing?

A. Bussing will remain the same: separate bus runs for the high school and elementary students. Therefore, there will be minimal cost savings as there will be no reduction in current bussing. The only way this may change is if we have a shortage of bus drivers at which time we would have to come up with a new plan.

Q. What happens if enrollment continues to decline?

A. We do not have an answer at this time. However, once students are under one roof, our goal would be to work on programming opportunities that will be unique to River Valley.

Q. How much of the construction would take place during the school year?

A. We won’t have an answer to this question until after we meet with the architects and construction managers. This may take several weeks before we have an answer. We will keep you updated.

Q. Have you hired a construction company?

A. We have hired Cordogan Clark as our architects and Skillman Corporation as our construction manager. We are meeting on July 13 to get them up to date information. Once everyone page, we will have more information and will share it with you.

Q. What is the deadline for a final decision to move forward? When is the final decision to close the two elementary schools made?

A. This is yet to be determined but we will let you know as soon as possible and will continue to keep you informed.

Q. What would happen to the two elementary schools when closed?

A. This has not yet been determined. We will keep you posted.

Q. Could renewable energy sources be explored? Grant available?

A. Perhaps. This will all be determined once we start planning.

Q. Where would students eat?

A. Currently we are looking at renovating the MHS library and turning it into a cafeteria/gym.

Q. What would happen to the Three Oaks building related to the Warren Estate?

A. This building would go back to the Warren estate based upon what our deed states which we will verify with our attorneys. This is all we know right now. Should something change, we will let you know.

Q. If River Valley were to close, who would be responsible for paying off the bond loan?

A. Our Business manager’s understanding (still getting clarification from the Department of Treasury) is that it would be paid back out of non-homestead taxes the district receives already. Further, if there was a shortfall, assets (property) would be sold to make up the difference. Since the taxpayers didn’t vote on it, they would not be liable for it. Should we look at consolidation with another school district, that loan would be part of the consolidation agreement.

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