Archive for Thursday, March 7, 2002

Kobza’s distinction as Eudora ‘Citizen’ well-deserved

March 7, 2002

Economic development experts insist the quality of schools is the most important factor in the recruitment of new businesses and industries. We think, therefore, it is altogether appropriate Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza was named the Eudora Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Kobza was named superintendent nine months ago amid the chaos of the "resignation" of his predecessor. The new superintendent took the district's reigns at a challenging and highly visible time. Kobza was promoted as the district prepared its annual budget, and more daunting, with an upcoming voter decision on the district's $16 million bond issue. Bond issue campaigns are always tricky tasks for school administrators, who need to provide the information that makes a case for new classrooms without crossing into advocacy. If handled poorly, a campaign can leave a superintendent alienated from a large segment of the community.

Promotion from within is admirable, but it can come with the price of former peers undermining authority by extending existing rivalries. With three new principals in the district's four buildings, the transition has gone as smoothly as could be expected. Kobza's performance at school board meetings, noticeably better managed since his appointment, suggests a man comfortable with his role, who enjoys the support of his team.

This difficult financial time will further test Kobza. Like his peers in Kansas, he must make decisions about next year's needs with no idea what level of funding the state will provide. Should the Legislature make the more drastic cuts some are advocating, the district would have to cut back or curtail popular programs.

Kobza's grade card to date suggests he can make decisions the community supports. His selection for the chamber honor offers tangible evidence Kobza has restored the community's confidence in the district's administration.

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