Kampa hired as school district finance director

Chris Kampa

One thing’s for certain, Cambridge-Isanti school district’s new financial director won’t get lost in any of the buildings.

During the July 18 school board meeting, the board approved the hiring of Christopher Kampa as the district’s new Director of Finance and Operations. Kampa will replace Kris Crocker, who left her position in May to accept a similar position with the St. Michael-Albertville school district.

Kampa is a 1998 graduate of Cambridge-Isanti High School. During his introduction to the board, he expressed his delight in coming back to work for his alma mater.

“Why this is a really special opportunity for me is because I am a Bluejacket,” Kampa said. “I went here from kindergarten all the way to graduation. I think the world of the community and the school. My grandma even graduated from the high school back when it was still in the middle school. My wife’s parents graduated from here too.”

Along the way, Kampa played football and track and field for the Jackets. He was also involved in drama and speech.

Kampa and his family have already been living in the area for about six years after spending some time living in downtown Minneapolis.

Although Kampa doesn’t have experience with school district finances, he has worked for government finance management in the past. His most recent job was as a senior financial analyst for Hennepin County, where he managed the finances and budgeting process for their roads, snow removal, plus the county’s vehicles. Before that, he worked as an investment banker for a company which did involve the underwriting of school district bonds.  

Kampa said he left the investment community for a job in financial management in order to spend more time with his family.

Interim superintendent search progressing

Also during the July 18 board meeting, the board decided on the next steps to be done in the search for an interim superintendent.

Board chair Timothy Hitchings indicated that the district has received eight licensed applicants for the position. The board decided that the HR committee, which consists of Aaron Berg, Lynn Wedlund and Hitchings, would take an initial look at the applications to possibly weed out any that glaringly don’t fit what the district has determined it needed in the position.

After that, there will most likely be two rounds of interviews of the candidates. The board may decide to eliminate some of the candidates after the first interview, but could also decide to bring everyone back for the second round if they found all of them were close in qualifications.

The board decided they would choose which questions would be asked during the interviews during a study session scheduled for Wednesday, July 24.

Finally, the board decided that while it would still be an interim position, the length of the interim position would be open-ended. It was noted that some of the candidates may express an interest in being considered for the permanent position. 

Also, the board has yet to determine when they will begin the search for the permanent superintendent.

District’s bus fleet in excellent condition

The board heard a presentation from transportation director Kyle Johnson, who gave the board the results from the state’s 2018-19 inspection of the district’s vehicles.

According to Johnson, during inspection vehicles are given various point deductions based on the condition of the vehicles. For example, Johnson said that if an emergency exit sticker is not visible on a window, that is a two-point deduction. But if a stop arm light isn’t working, that is a 25-point deduction. Even simply having a trash container not being secured is a two-point deduction. 

Johnson said a vehicle must have less than 25 points in deductions in order to pass inspection. If it has more than that, it must be pulled from service until the issues are fixed and it is reinspected.

If a vehicle gets 15 points in deductions, it can still be used, but it only gets a temporary sticker and it must get fixed in order to get a permanent sticker.

Johnson was proud to report that out of the 96 vehicles in the district’s fleet, they received only 28 deduction points in total, meaning that all 96 vehicles received their inspection sticker.

 “Out of thousands of points we could have gotten in deductions, we only got 28 points,” Johnson said. “That says a lot about our bus drivers and our maintenance staff.”

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