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Pasadena May Hire McPherson

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School Supt. R. Bruce McPherson is one of two persons being considered for the top administrative post in the Pasadena (Calif.) School District, The Ann Arbor News has learned. According to Pasadena Board of Education President LaVern La Motte, it is still "uncertain as to when the decisión will be made" by the five-member board. The former superintendent resigned earlier last month to go into private business. He was the fourth person to leave that position in the past five years. Another board member in Pasadena reported, however, that a decisión will be made by next Friday on the post, i which provides an annual salary of $35,000. The former Pasadena superintendent received $32,000 while McPherson is Ipresently making $35,000 in Ann Arbor. McPherson still has two years remainI ing on his three-year contract with the I Ann Arbor Board of Education. McPherson said today, concerning the Pasadena position, "I did not initiate the application for any new position but had agreed to allow my name to be considered in Pasadena in late June. The first personal contact with the board was in Pasadena last weekend and expenses were paid by the Pasadena Board of Education for myself and my wife. I have been asked to return for a second personal interview in the near future. I have kept the Ann Arbor Board of Education President Ted Heusel fully apprised of the matter." McPherson was said to have made the trip to California last Friday for his interview with a citizens' selection committee. Mrs. La Motte indicated to The News that she did not know how McPherson's application was made since their board had hired three professional consultants to mail information about the opening. William Stewart, pubic information officer for the Ann Arbor schools, said today that McPherson was contacted following the recommendation from another superintendent in Michigan and he agreed to allow his name to be considered. It was reported that the Pasadena board originally had 78 applicants for the position and a citizens' committee had narrowed the selection to seven. That board reportedly is presently deliberating between McPherson and its present assistant superintendent, Raymond Cortines. The Pasadena district has a total enrollment of about 27,500 compared to Ann Arbor's enrollment of nearly 20,000. When contacted this morning Heusel said, "I have been aware for a long time that there had been many places inquiring about Bruce. Someone is always asking about him. He is much in demand," Heusel said he was aware McPherson went to California last week. He added, McPherson took vacation time for the trip. "I don 't know if he is looking," Heusel said. "Anybody in a high position is. always open for discussion. That happens in every business." Heusel said if the superintendent asked to be released from his contract, he would be willing to release him. "But I can only speak for one guy. The board is so diversified I don't know how they would vote." Heusel said programs McPherson has introduced would be continued even if he should decide to leave. "Nobody is indispensable," Heusel added. Other board members apparently were unaware McPherson was being ered for another job until The News eontacted them. Trustee Henry Johnson said: "I am sort of stunned. On second thought, if he has been .actively looking, I can understand quite well, given the degree of board intereference just since June. He has had a very rough year." Johnson said he would vote to release McPherson from his three-year contract if-the superintendent requested it. Trustee Cecil Warner, president of the Board of Education in 1971-72, said, after being told of MePherson's pending application in Pasadena, "I can't really verbalize a reaction based on just the hearing of the news. Certainly I would have to know more." Warner added: "In terms of programs he has implemented and changes he has started, I think it would be a detrimental loss to the school system. If he starts something, I would like to see him finish it. It would be difficult to bring sombody else in to finish something already started." Trustee Charles Good said, "I am very unhappy witlythe whole thing. I'm supportive of him looking for another job. I would if I were in his shoes. The board can't continue to try to do his job and I keep him too." I As for the future of the public schools without McPherson, Good said, "I'm worrying about it. It would have to depend on who came afterward. I'm not enthusiastic about the future." Trustee Ilobert Conn said even if the superintendent left Ann Arbor, he was sure the schools would continue in the same direction they are going. "I'm not fearful of anything at this point because I'm not sure this is what he's going to do," Conn added. Trustee Paul Carrington said, "I don't know anything about it. If it is true, I would regard it as his (MePherson's) business." Carrington said he would have to think i further about releasing McPherson from his three-year contract. "I'd be disappointed in the loss of him. I support the superintendent. I hope he'll stay on," Carrington said. Trustee Ralph Bolhouse expressed surprise when told McPherson was being considered for the superintendent's job in Pasadena. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE
As for releasing McPherson trom his I contract, Bolhouse said, "When he carne I to us with the request, I would consider I it then. It would be necessary to see the circumstances. I hate to stand in the I way of someone getting ahead." ' Bolhouse said if the superintendent left, it would be a loss to the school system, but he added, "I'm certain the programs would continue. I'm certain he has been instrumental in many programs, but I don't see any programs falling by the wayside. A program is a program." Trustee Duane Renken agreed, saying, "He has started a great many programs. Most of the programs are well under iway. No one individual stops a school system." . I Renken said McPherson probably will Inot stay extensively beyond his threelyear contract and may not stay that llong. He added McPherson is available [to make an application for a job like any lother man. I Within the framework of being able to replace him, Renken said he would not stand in the way of McPherson making an advancement. Trustee Clarence Dukes, the newest member of the school board, said if McPherson should elect to move, "My first impression would be not to stand in the way of a man who wants to improve himself ... I would not encourage him to leave. At this point I'm quite impressed with Dr. McPherson." Dukes said because of the turmoil the schools had been through recently, he thought it would be unfortunate if McPherson chose to leave. Lawrence Steward, president of the Ann Arbor Education Association, said this morning he would not consider it appropriate to comment on McPherson's potential move to the Pasadena superintendcy "until it's official." It has been exactly one year, three months and a day- April 26, 1971- since the announcement that McPherson had signed a three-year contract as Ann Arbor's public school superintendent appeared in The News. Contacted that day in Philadelphia. where he was that school district's associte superintendent for policy, planning and development, McPherson naid: "I'm just delighted to have the opportunity to work with the Ann Arbor Board of Education and staff and I feel this is a real privilege. There are few school districts like Ann Arbor that have its potential and outstanding personnel." His contract was formally approved by the Board of Education on June 23. McPherson formally assumed his duties here the following July 1. With him carne three colleagues from I the Philadelphia school district- Frederick D. Holliday and Philip Mcllnay as deputy superintendents, Mildred Bautista as the new superintenöent's assistant. Holiday returned to Philadelphia early I in 1972 as an elementary school prinI cipal. Bautista was íired, and Mcllnay's resignation was accepted this spring, after a falsification of her academie credentials was reported by The News and confirmed by McPherson on a trip to 1 fornia. He was accompanied on that trip by Bautista and Mcllnay, later returning the cost of their travel expenses I at the request of the school board. Three weeks after McPerson began his superintendency, he and the board made their first major personnel appointment - that of Fred C. Leonard as principal of Forsythe Junior High. "My staff and I," McPherson said then, "interviewed Leonard extensively and we believe him to be one of the most outstanding young educators we have encountered in many years. I have complete confidence in his capacity to serve as an outstanding principal at Forsythe." This month, McPherson made clear that he does not support the Board of Education's decisión to transfer Leonard to the position of director of field services for the public schools, effective when a new Forsythe principal is selected. (Relatedl story on Page 27) J McPherson's first direct assertion oí the prerogative in administrative appoint-l ments came last August when he and Holliday announced that eight elementary school principáis were being moved to other schools. The proposed shifts were withdrawn the same month following expressionsl of public opposition that included peti-l tion drives among the Burns Park andl Haisley PTOs. ' School opening was delayed tnree days the following month when the Ann Arbor Education Association confronted McPherson and his staff with a strike and charges of bad faith bargaining on 'a new contract. An agreement to go to non-binding fact-finding permitted schools to open without new contract terms being fully agreed on. A settlement providing teachers salary and fringe benefit increasesj of 6.5 'per cent this year and 11.1 perj cent next year carne in January. J