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Wichita school district’s new chief financial officer is Andover schools’ business manager

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 10 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at 1:12 p.m.

The Wichita school district has named a new chief financial officer, according to an e-mail to employees from Superintendent John Allison.

Jim Freeman, currently the business manager for Andover schools, will begin his new position with the Wichita district May 1, Allison said in the e-mail.

He will replace Linda Jones, who has worked for the Wichita district 23 years.

District spokeswoman Susan Arensman said Thursday that Jones retired earlier this month and took a job as finance director for the city of Owasso, Okla., “to be closer to her son.”

As chief financial officer for Wichita schools, Jones’ annual salary was $124,177, according to district records.

Freeman’s annual salary will be the same, Arensman said.

In the e-mail to employees, Allison said Freeman, 63, “has a tremendous background in school finance in Kansas.”

Freeman is president of the Kansas Association of School Business Officials and served on Gov. Sam Brownback’s recent school efficiency task force, and he “has a strong grasp on school finance matters statewide,” Allison said in the e-mail.

“His advocacy for the 50,000 students in our district will be significant.”

A graduate of Wichita State University, Freeman began his career as an instrumental music teacher at Wichita South High School in 1975. He has worked for several large and small districts in Kansas and Illinois. He has been business manager for Andover schools since 2007.

Until May, Freeman will “be dividing his time between our district and his current position,” Allison said.

According to district records, Jones’ “pre-early retirement” is effective March 31, but she already has left for her new position in Oklahoma.

Freeman said he is looking forward to working with Allison and other district officials in Wichita.

“I bring a little bit different focus to the job, being a former educator, and I think that will bring some valuable insight,” he said Thursday.

The chief financial officer develops and oversees the district’s $628 million budget.

Freeman is the second top administrator to leave the Andover district within the past few months. Superintendent Mark Evans was named superintendent of Omaha public schools in December.

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