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Area principal resigns for new job

By Karen Colbenson

kcolbenson@postbulletin.com

Southland Middle School and High School Principal Jon Ellerbusch, who will leave the district at the end of this school year, calls his resignation a career move.

Ellerbusch will take over as principal at Kingsland High School in Spring Valley beginning July 1.

"With the second round of budget cuts (at Southland) and seeing the direction things are headed, I thought it would be best to look at a few schools that could offer something that matches me better," Ellerbusch said.

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The Kingsland district has 850 students; Southland has 600.

Budget cuts were made last year despite the district’s attempts to get more funding. According to Southland Superintendent Gary Kuphal, about five staff members were laid off last year.

In a referendum last fall, voters rejected an increase in local funding.

In March, a resolution was considered by the Southland School Board to discontinue or reduce even more educational programs and positions, including several teaching positions in physical education, music and English.

"After budget reductions last year and the failure of the referendum, I think both the staff and the community knew that budget reductions were going to be necessary again this year," Kuphal said in March.

Ellerbusch said that his job was not at risk in Southland but that he felt Kingsland is a better fit.

"I had a position, but with the direction that the school is going because of the budget, or is unable to go I guess because of the budget, I felt a better fit at Kingsland for myself as principal," Ellerbusch said. "I can do more leadership versus so much management time because of the budget."

Ellerbusch said he is sad to go and that two months ago, he thought he would be at Southland for another five to 10 years.

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A special board meeting tonight will determine the administrative structure for the 2007-2008 school year. According to Ellerbusch, consideration is being given to having a dean of students either half time in each building or one full time to go between the buildings, in addition to having a K-12 principal.

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