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Canby schools chief interviewing for South Kitsap job

by: CANBY HERALD PHOTO - Canby School District Superintendent John Steach.Canby Schools Superintendent John Steach is one of three finalists for the same job in the South Kitsap School District in Washington state.

Steach, Canby superintendent since July 1, 2011, interviewed this week with South Kitsap.

The reason he is looking elsewhere is state school funding, Steach said.

His current job is a great job in a great district, he said. “There’s not another district in the state of Oregon that I would consider going to.”

The Canby School District board is aware of his candidacy for the South Kitsap job. He said he assured the board he was committed to the best job he can while he is here.

“I don’t think I’ve had more fun in my career than I am right now, and it makes really difficult to even consider leaving,” he said.

Steach said the more he has learned about Oregon’s state of financing for education made it hard to stomach.

“It would be hard to think of doing this year after year,” he said.

Compared to Washington’s education financing, Oregon’s funding formula is an atrocity, he said. “If I was in a similar district in Washington I would have 10 percent more funding than I get here, and Washington is about as bad as it can get.

Former North Clackamas School Superintendent Tim Mills cited frustration with continual budget cuts when he resigned last May. He became superintendent at the Bellevue (Wash.) School District.

Even more discouraging, Oregon has no mechanism to improve things, Steach said.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” Steach said. “I was a lot more excited abut coming here than I am to leave.

Before taking the Canby job July 1, 2011, Steach was the deputy superintendent for the Richland (Wash.) School District.

Steach said he and his wife had looked at being in Canby for four to five years and then look at a larger school district in Washington.

But the South Kitsap job came up unexpectedly. The superintendent that they hired three years ago left to take a job in California. An interim superintendent has been running the district since then.

Steach said he was contacted by the firm doing the search for the South Kitsap position.