BULLHEAD CITY — Benje Hookstra is returning to the helm of the Bullhead City Elementary School District.
The district’s governing board voted Thursday evening to change its interlocal agreement with the Colorado River High School District to reflect that Hookstra is now superintendent of both districts.
The districts have shared administrative services since 2013; Hookstra was BHCESD superintendent for a couple of years prior to the agreement, and had been assistant superintendent for instruction for both districts since then.
His selection came two nights after the CRUHSD board voted to place Supt. Riley Frei in a new construction supervisor position.
CRUHSD board President Kari Hoffman said Tuesday that the board wanted Frei to be able to concentrate on the $35 million in bond projects now underway.
Those include a new multipurpose athletic building and about $3 million in campus improvements at Mohave and River Valley high schools.
As superintendent, board members said, Frei was responsible for overseeing the bond projects.
“It’s literally too much for him to do both jobs,” Hoffman said after Tuesday’s meeting. Frei wasn’t given additional duties, but rather had administrative duties taken away.
Thursday, after a closed-door executive session that lasted about an hour, board member Melinda Sobraske moved to update the interlocal agreement, which had previously stipulated that the CRUHSD would provide a superintendent who would serve both districts.
The motion passed 4-0, with board President Dennis Crane abstaining.
“I didn’t think that was necessarily the best solution,” Crane said. “That in no way reflects a lack of confidence in Mr. Hookstra. In no way is he not up to the job. He’s a great asset.”
Hookstra said he plans no major changes for the short term.
“You try to do what’s best for the district and for the children,” he said.
Hookstra was hired by the BHCESD as curriculum director in 2006. He was named superintendent in 2011 after having served as business manager and assistant superintendant.
Also at the meeting, the board voted to adopt a $15.35 million budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The budget includes a $2 hourly raise for bus drivers and raises total compensation for teachers by 11 to 12 percent, Hookstra said.
Not included are new parking lots for Desert Valley Elementary School and Fox Creek Junior High; a Truth in Taxation hearing that would have permitted the board to levy a tax to raise the $100,000 for those projects was scrubbed because advance notice of the meeting wasn’t published on time.