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Editorial: City, school district have similar choices

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The Farmington City Council and the District 192 School Board will both interview candidates for their top jobs this week. The school board will hold interviews Wednesday and Thursday with four finalists for its soon-to-be-vacant superintendent position. Council members will sit down Friday with six candidates for their city administrator position.

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As they move toward the end of their search processes, council members and and school board members find themselves in similar positions. Both have an interesting mix of candidates, men and women with experience, but often in places smaller -- in some cases significantly so -- than they would move to.

Farmington's city administrator candidates come from Lake Elmo, which has a population around 8,000, and from Dayton and Afton, which are both a fair amount smaller. But they are mixed in with a candidate currently working in Chaska and another who has served as a Farmington City Council member himself.

On the school district side, candidates have years of experience -- seven years is the shortest tenure any of the finalists has as a superintendent -- but they also tend to come from smaller districts. Three of the finalists come from districts with total student populations roughly equal to the enrollment at Farmington High School. But there are also superintendents currently serving in districts with demographics similar to Farmington's. And all four districts appear to have good records of academic achievement. That, ultimately, should weigh heavier than a district's size.

The size of a city or a school district is obviously not the only measure for a city administrator or a superintendent. It is the common order of job progression that leaders like these move to progressively bigger posts. And at least on first glance it appears these candidates have other qualities to recommend them.

We'll know more once the interviews are over. But we are optimistic about what is to come.

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