Wenatchee School Superintendent Kory Kalahar will be getting the term "interim" dropped from his title.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to negotiate an extension of his contract for one year to 2026, and to remove the phrase "interim."

The board held an executive session in private following their regular meeting, presumably to consider Kalahar's contract, and emerged roughly 55 minutes later. At that point, a vote was taken to negotiate an extension.

Kalahar was hired for a period of two years in July of 2023, with an option to convert into a permanent superintendent contract at any time during the interim period.

School Board President Julie Norton said she's developed confidence in Kalahar during the year he's been leading the district.

"I think we feel comfortable with the direction we're moving," said Norton. "And we do need to have some stability over the next few years, so this feels like a right decision."

Board Member Maria Iñiguez said the extension will bring needed consistency to the superintendent position after several changes in recent years.

"The ability to enter into contract negotiations to amend the current contract and extend it to an additional year allows for us to continue with that stability that we've been needing with multiple superintendents in the last several years," said Iñiguez.

Kalahar became the district's third superintendent over the course of a year in 2023, replacing interim Superintendent Bill Eagle, who agreed to a one-year contract the year before. Eagle filled the role after Superintendent Paul Gordon accepted a superintendent position outside of Chicago.

It was Kalahar who inherited a budget shortfall that began in 2022 when there was a misstep during the transition between Gordon and Eagle. Staff failed to identify a reduction in state and federal funding and the district later realized there was a $9 million dollar budgeting error that put the district in a financial hole.

Kalahar has been at the helm as the district has had to make major cuts, including the closure this year of Columbia Elementary School.

He has also overseen the process to build a girls softball field. The field is being constructed to bring the district in compliance with federal law after it was cited for a Title IX violation, which requires equal treatment for male and female athletes.

The Wenatchee School Board plans to vote on the actual contract extension of Kalahar's at its next meeting June 25.
He currently makes $220,000 a year and receive $600 a month for travel expenses. The district also took out a $500,000 life insurance policy for Kalahar at the time he was hired, with Kalahar naming the beneficiaries from the policy.

He's worked for the Wenatchee School District for 25 years, and became the superintendent after working as the Assistant Executive Director of Learning & Teaching, with previous positions as principal and assistant principal.

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