Students and teachers returned to Olentangy schools this week with an interim treasurer in place and a search underway to find the district's next chief financial officer.

Students and teachers returned to Olentangy schools this week with an interim treasurer in place and a search underway to find the district's next chief financial officer.

Olentangy school board members earlier this month accepted the resignation of Treasurer Brian Kern, who was hired for the same position by Dublin City Schools. Kern had served as Olentangy's treasurer since 2013.

"Brian has done an outstanding job for Olentangy and we're very disappointed to see him go," board President Dave King said.

After accepting Kern's resignation, the board appointed Assistant Treasurer Emily Hatfield as interim treasurer and approved a contract with the Ohio School Boards Association to find Kern's permanent replacement.

The base cost of the district's contract with the association is $6,900. According to the organization's proposal to Olentangy, most of its searches end up costing districts less than $9,500 after factoring in expenses.

The association gave a presentation before the board Aug. 4, along with the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and Finding Leaders.

Board member Kevin O'Brien said he has a certain "comfort level" with the Ohio School Boards Association.

"They've done the last two (administrative) searches, which I thought were successful," he said.

King and board member Julie Wagner Feasel said they could see working with all three of the firms.

"I would tend to lean toward OSBA because of prior experience," King said.

Board members Roger Bartz and Mindy Patrick voted against contracting with the association, but agreed to support the board's ultimate decision.

"With them all being relatively even ... I guess I would be inclined to maybe branch out to try someone different this time," Bartz said.

He said he has a minor quibble with the way the Ohio School Boards Association presented its cost structure.

Patrick said she supported Finding Leaders because she wanted a firm that offered a "very aggressive" recruiting plan.

The board has not set a firm deadline for when it needs to hire a permanent treasurer.

O'Brien previously said the district is in "good hands" with its interim treasurer if the search process becomes lengthy.

Cheryl Ryan, director of school board services for the Ohio School Boards Association, said the timeline for the search will be customizable and flexible based on the board's needs. She said she thinks Olentangy's brand will help attract good candidates.

"Finding qualified candidates has not been difficult because your district is such an attractive one," she said.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick