Last Friday, Missoula County Public Schools Superintendent Alex Apostle announced he was leaving for a similar position in Washington state.

On Monday, Chairman of the Missoula School Board Joseph Knapp said the process to replace Dr. Apostle is already underway.

"As of right now, it's pretty straightforward how the process will go," Knapp said. "Coming up at our April 14th regular board meeting, we have a major agenda item of exactly this issue, what's the succession plan. Right now, there are several options available to us, and that decision will probably be forthcoming at the April 14th meeting."

Knapp addressed the issue of the upcoming bond issue request that had been headed up by the now departing Alex Apostle.

"This bond issue request has been in the planning stages for the past two years now," he said. "All of the outlines of how we're going to proceed has already been set. In fact, this week, we should be able to firm up a financial number as to what the bond will be. Once the bond language is set, the public relations campaign to promote the bond issue will go before the Citizen Advisory Board."

Knapp said with the process itself almost complete, Apostle's importance is somewhat reduced.

"While Dr. Apostle has been the point person in many ways, the process has been completely laid out and set," he said. "The face of it will look different, but the actual game plan is completely set."

Knapp said the legislature is also playing a part in the bond issue.

"The legislature will, in the next few weeks, will be deciding whether or not we can move the number we can bond higher," Knapp said. "Right now, we have a fixed bonding capacity up to a certain bonding level in the elementary and in the high school district, based on state law. That law is being reappraised right now in the legislature. So, we may be able to go to the voters for an even higher number than we had already planned."

The kindergarten through eighth grade bond, was set at $110 million over 20 years. The bond for the high school district was put at $75 million over 20 years. Knapp said the legislature may allow an increase in the overall bonding capacity.

MCPS officials will begin the process of replacing Alex Apostle by either looking within the existing district leadership, or go outside, as they did when Apostle was hired seven years ago.