The Moose Lake School Board passed a motion unanimously to hire Robert Indihar as the superintendent at the meeting of the board on Monday, January 28. Indihar has been the interim superintendent since July 1, 2012, and will continue in that position until June 30.
Indihar was interviewed by the board members before the board meeting began. He was asked about the near future due to the changing dynamics of public education.
“In the next three to five years, there will be a push for accountability,” said Indihar. “Testing is taking over. There is a strong focus on math and English. My concern if it keeps going is what’s going to happen to the arts and other subjects. Teachers are focusing on math and English because of the high stakes. There needs to be a balance.
“Another change is technology. Ten years ago we didn’t have iPads nor speed in computers. We need to communicate with parents. Will the kids need to be in the building in the future? They could be doing their work at home.
“I don’t believe that every student gets an iPad. I don’t believe in it because teachers need to be comfortable with it first. We did it right, the teachers are getting comfortable with them. We are providing trainings and inservice to them. Then we will take the next step.”
Indihar said that textbooks are one of the most expensive items in the budget.
“We are looking at technology to replace textbooks but it is still as expensive right now,” he said. “It may not be in the future once teachers get comfortable with using technology to create their own textbooks. Then that changes the game.”
Indihar listed replacing the current computers that are six or seven years old, adding child care and a new school building while continuing to provide an education as his vision for the future.
“Our vision is to be one of the best if not the best school in the area,” he said.
Indihar said that he looks at the big picture and leaves the details to professional staff members. He said that he gives them a budget and expects them to stay within that budget. If they are unable to stay within the budget, he says that he wants them to talk to him.
In considering budget cuts, he said that the cuts should be as far away from the students as possible. He asks each department head to suggest ways to cut their budgets. Lists are brought to the Finance Committee and then to the board.
When asked why the position was of interest to him, Indihar replied, “A year ago I was dealing with discipline, current issues and so forth. Now all of a sudden I’m looking at the new development (land sale), selling a building (the Southern Carlton County Family Center), the flood and personnel issues on a higher level. There are a lot of exciting things going on around here that I am a part of. It’s changed me, I enjoy it greatly. Everything is new to me.”
A positive reception surprised Indihar.
“I was surprised by the positive reception that everyone has given me,” he said. “The bottom line is that I’ve heard so many positive things that it’s overwhelming. I think I’m still in the honeymoon period. We have a lot of things going on right now.”
When asked about the community using the school building, Indihar said that the community built the building and the community should be able to use the building.
“That goes for the new building too,” he added. “A fitness center would draw people to the building. The public wouldn’t want to use that weight room that we have here. We could have a cooperative with the city for an arena. Some have gone so far as to say that we should have a swimming pool. It’s important to get the community in here, such as parents with child care, and senior citizens. It’s important that people come. How can we make this truly a community building? It is Moose Lake Community Schools.”
At the conclusion of the interview, Indihar thanked the board.
“It’s been a journey for me,” he said. “Thank you again. I look forward to working with you in the future.”
Indihar had been the only candidate interviewed.