The Picher-Cardin Board of Education has hired a superintendent for the 2007-08 school year.

Don Barr will replace Bob Walker in his administrative duties on July 1.

“Don is a veteran of Ottawa County and I think he'll be a good choice for the position, Walker said.

Walker, who has also served as high school principal for the past school year, has been employed by Picher-Cardin Schools for 15 years.

In March, Walker asked the school board to begin looking for his replacement.

“By resigning now, it gives the board ample time to hire my replacement, Walker said. “It frees me up for what I need to do for myself and my family.

Since 2004, the school district has dwindled to nearly one-third the enrollment as families have gradually left the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Lead contamination led to a voluntary buyout in 2005 that offered relocation to families with children under the age of 6. At that time, the district lost approximately 100 students.

Last year, a subsidence report was released identifying areas in and around Picher, Cardin and Hockerville that carry varying degrees of subsidence risk. Since the announcement, another 200 students have left the district.

In December, with concerns about student safety, low test scores, quality teachers and the inability to provide college-bound students with required courses, the district's board of education proposed annexation of the school district.

Voters rejected the proposal in February of this year, leaving the board with no other option but to begin preparing for a 2007-08 school year.

Barr, currently the middle school principal at Grove, said he is excited about the career move to Picher.

“I'm looking forward to working with the board of education, staff and students, Barr said. “First on my agenda is to make contact with applicants for a high school principal.

Barr said he will not serve, as Walker has done this year, in both capacities.