The search for the next superintendent of Marysville schools is officially under way.

The search for the next superintendent of Marysville schools is officially under way.

The Marysville Exempted Village Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a contract Aug. 22 with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESC) to spearhead the search.

Current Superintendent Larry Zimmerman announced his resignation last month, effective Feb. 3, 2012.

The ESC serves school districts in Franklin, Delaware and Union counties and provides leadership, business and other support services.

Board members said they expect the search for Zimmerman's replacement to cost about $2,000.

Zimmerman has served as superintendent since 1997. He started with the district in 1972 as a teacher and coach.

Also at Monday's meeting, board members pledged their support for a group of parents who say they'll start a booster organization to support football at the middle school level. Several parents spoke at the meeting, saying that such an organization could have helped fund staffing and equipment and helped keep more students involved during the 2010-11 school year.

About two dozen players were cut from the team this year, something not traditionally done at the middle school level. Officials said the cuts were necessary in part because of reduced funds for coaches and equipment.

Zimmerman said there are about 24 fewer athletics and extracurricular supervisors for activities this year, meaning fewer students can participate. He encouraged the parents to explore a booster organization and look for ways to volunteer to help prevent players from being cut in the future.

"I want to see kids participate. At the middle school level, it should be about participation," Zimmerman said. "Forty years of being around kids have told me that kids will be busy and I'd rather have them keep busy doing something we want them to do."

In other business, the board:

Heard a presentation from representatives of the Hope Center. The organization is expected to finalize its lease of district property next month and hopes to open later this year.

Unanimously voted to move the remainder of its 2011 meeting dates from Mondays to Thursdays.

Established bus stops and routes for the 2011-12 school year. Zimmerman said the district plans to have 31 buses rolling for the start of the school year, three fewer than last year.