By Karen Vance
STONELICK TWP. - Ralph Shell has two goals as interim superintendent of Clermont Northeastern Schools - improve test scores and balance the budget.
The goals are the same two he had as interim superintendent in the Little Miami School District in 2000. Shell, now 62, retired three years later, with both accomplished.
Clermont Northeastern Superintendent Charles Shreve left the district at the end of his contract by mutual agreement with the school board, said board member Jayne Mummert.
"We felt we needed to go in a different direction, with respect for what Dr. Shreve did here," Mummert said.
Shell answered the call of the relatively new board - only one member is not serving in his first term - and plans to serve as interim superintendent for one year.
When he retired to his Hillsboro home, his third retirement in 39 years in education, Shell had helped Little Miami Schools achieve an Excellent Ohio Report Card rating, and gotten an operating levy passed.
Clermont Northeastern Schools, a district of 2,025 students, is rated in the lower Continuous Improvement category, and voters will decide on a permanent improvement levy in November to avoid a $1.1 million deficit in the 2005-06 school year.
The same levy failed in August, 62 percent to 38 percent.
"We just really need to turn this district around," Mummert said. "What I've seen over the last five years, we're not making the strides we need to be making. I'm looking forward to a year of improvement and growth."
She stressed the importance of bringing the community on board with the levy.
"We have no other choice but to put this levy on. We don't have any fat to cut. We're down to the bone," she said. "But in the meantime, we're still plugging away at academic improvement and morale improvement."
CNE Treasurer Brian Switzer said the board plans to hire a new superintendent next spring.
Shell, who started work Monday, is being paid $375 per day, or $82,875 if he works all 221 days of the school year, Switzer said.
Shreve, whose last official day was Sept. 12, began as superintendent in November 1993 and was paid $96,000 per year.
He has moved to Eastern Local Schools in Pike County, a district of 852 students in Beaver, Ohio, 35 miles north of Portsmouth.
Minor parties, major ambition
Edwards attacks Bush's record on economy, Iraq
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Feds tighten airport screening
Islet cell transplants on hold
Cincinnati cops nearly done with CPR update
Locals lend hand to victims of storms
Senators hear doctors' complaints about costs
Relative takes up fight for justice
Fire union lists ways to save
Group disputes petition validity
Driver who killed woman sentenced to three years
Ex-cop faces trial in wife's '95 death
Once again, teens mourn loss of peer to car wreck
What's recyclable? A lot more items
N.Ky. counts its successes
Gay man cheers arrest in case
Maysville celebrates retaining newspaper
Kentucky news briefs
School music makes comeback
1-day walkout may be voted
Fairfield faces academic cuts if levy fails again
Shell asked to help district
Downs: Don't make P. Diddy beg; vote, you kids
Good Things Happening
Gordon Brisker, musician and master teacher
City embraces jam-packed Fusion
Wanna party? Sports, music, Oktoberfest await
Best places to eat
What's new downtown, on riverfront
Big events fill the weekend
Downtown event map (PDF)
More Big Weekend coverage