The Ascension School Board voted Tuesday to hire an Iowa-based search firm to assist in the process of finding the next schools superintendent.

The firm, Ray and Associates, was recommended by the board’s executive committee, which heard proposals earlier this month from that firm and from another company, which is based in Nebraska.

The committee chose Ray and Associates for its emphasis on aggressive recruiting to fill the position left vacant at the end of February when former Superintendent Patrice Pujol retired.

Ray and Associates quoted a base fee of $22,500 for the candidate search.

Also on Tuesday, the School Board recognized the three school district winners, from the primary, middle and high school levels, of the recent Louisiana School Boards Association art contest:

Molly Fruchey, a fifth-grader at Lakeside Primary, who won for “Heron Hunting in the Swamp.”

Cole Doiron, a sixth-grader at Dutchtown Middle School, who won for “Fireworks over the Mississippi.”

Tamerick Zachary, a senior at Donaldsonville High School, who won for “Louis Armstrong.” Tamerick’s artwork also placed third at the state level and is on display at the LSBA office in Baton Rouge.

Before the full School Board meeting on Tuesday, the board’s maintenance committee reviewed a draft of the school district’s maintenance budget for 2016-17, presented by Jeff Parent, maintenance supervisor.

The budget, at approximately $24.9 million, is roughly 5 percent less than the current school year’s maintenance budget.

The biggest savings, Parent said, came in facility and construction services, after major projects like new roofs were completed this school year, and also in vehicle and operations maintenance, after the school district began leasing vans for maintenance employees last year.

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