The Hays USD 489 school board likely will decide at its next meeting on an outside agency to help with the search for a new superintendent.

Three proposals were included in the agenda packet for Monday’s meeting for the search to replace Superintendent John Thissen, who will leave the job June 30. He has said a desire to be closer to family was the reason behind his resignation Oct. 23 after two and half years with the Hays district.

The proposals and projected total costs were from the following:

• McPherson and Jacobson, Omaha, Neb., $4,850.

• Kansas Association of School Boards, Topeka, $5,850

• Ray and Associates, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, $24,250. The company specializes in multi-state searches.

In its 2016 search that landed Thissen, the board hired KASB.

Each group outlined its search process, with McPherson and Jacobson providing the most detail and testimonials in a 66-page proposal. KASB’s proposal is 16 pages and Ray and Associates’ is 19 pages. All have worked with a number of Kansas school districts.

Assistant Superintendent Shanna Dinkel requested the board select a proposal at its Nov. 26 meeting so the job can be posted prior to the end of the year.

“That would be a very opportune time for anyone looking to do that over the holiday break,” she said.

Board member Luke Oborny said hiring an external group to handle the process was beneficial in 2016.

“I was surprised at the experience. I think the money is well-spent, the way they put everything together. They took what we were looking for and then found in that a selection of candidates for us,” he said.

Dinkel said the process will work much the same this time.

“They do focus groups. They’ll do teachers and community and get characteristics. They do some of the screening process,” she said.

Board members expressed in learning more about the Nebraska and Iowa firms from the other Kansas school districts that have hired them.

“We’ve gone through KASB several times. It would be interesting to hear different perspectives,” board member Lance Bickle said.