The Cape Elizabeth School Board has difficult days ahead as it works to find a new superintendent and struggles with a budget that will likely see a $1 million reduction in state aid.

The School Board has decided it will use the Maine School Management Association as a consultant during its search to replace Superintendent Meredith Nadeau, whose last day on the job will be June 30.

At a recent workshop, the board agreed to use the services of the association based on its experience, and recruiting abilities, according to Elizabeth Scifres, the school board chairwoman.

Scifres, in an open letter to the community, said it’s the goal of the School Board to hire a new superintendent by early May. She said the hiring process will include a survey of school staff, parents and community members.

The goal of the survey is for respondents to rank the importance of various characteristics and qualities they desire from a superintendent of schools.

“The board will use this input, along with the survey data (collected) over the last two years, to inform this very important selection process,” Scifres said.

In addition, the School Board is also forming an Advisory Screening Committee made up of three board members, two administrators, three teachers, two parents and two community members to help screen candidate applications and make recommendations to the full board.

Parents and community members interested in serving on this committee should email Scifres at [email protected] no later than March 1.

The email should include the reasons why they wish to serve, what talents or skills they would bring to the committee and a listing of any current or previous service on town boards or committees.

The School Board plans to appoint the members of the committee at its March 8 business meeting, Scifres said.

The Advisory Screening Committee may then meet two or more times through mid-March, with the goal of making recommendations to the School Board’s Hiring Committee, which will conduct the actual candidate interviews.

Members of the screening committee will be expected to participate in a training session and then read and rank the applications the school district has received from superintendent candidates.

The superintendent’s position was advertised last week and the hope is to hold candidate interviews in late March and April, according to Scifres.

After serving five years as the head of schools in Cape Elizabeth, Nadeau resigned in mid-January after she was hired to lead the Newmarket School District in New Hampshire.

“Certainly the board knows this has been a bittersweet decision for me,” Nadeau said in announcing her resignation during the Jan. 12 School Board meeting.

“The district in New Hampshire happens to be the district where my grandmother and great-grandmother graduated from high school, which is a unique opportunity for me,” she added.

In addition to searching for a new superintendent, the Cape Elizabeth School Board is also now beginning the budget process for the 2017 fiscal year.

According to figures received from the Maine Department of Education, Cape schools are projected to receive $1 million less in state subsidy, which represents a 29 percent reduction in funding, Nadeau told the School Board last week.

Originally scheduled to present her proposed new fiscal year budget on Tuesday, Feb. 23, Nadeau asked the School Board to postpone the scheduled workshop until 6:30 p.m. on March 1 instead.

That’s partly due to the impact of the loss of state funding and partly due to significant changes in the school budget now that oversight for Community Services is moving from the School Department to the town.

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