District to fill in gaps due to contract limitations

By on July 16, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
The administration made the choice to hire an interim high school principal when Tony Valente resigned in June, after most potential candidates had already signed contracts for the upcoming school year. An interim principal will allow the district to fill the position with an experienced individual, while leaving the administration adequate time to perform a successful search for a long-term principal.

However, under the Teachers Retirement System contract, Dr. Greg Fantozzi may only work 120 days during a given school year. Schuler recommended filling in the gaps by spreading out some of the administrative responsibilities in the following ways with the associated costs.

• Special Education Department Chair (currently with a reduced teaching load): perform staff evaluations, serve as administrative representative in all special education meetings and assist in supervision of school activities ($10,000)

• Seasonal assistant athletic directors (current athletic director performs additional general administrative duties): one person per season to provide additional supervision of athletic programs and contests ($16,000)

• Two teachers: (either hire part-time teacher or add to work load of two current teachers) to temporarily assist the Dean’s Office with the overflow of disciplinary issues ($30,000)

According to Schuler, these costs plus the cost of hiring Fantozzi at a daily rate of $600 for 120 days, for a total of $128,000, would be the same budget cost to hire a full-time principal including salary and benefits.

The board unanimously approved Schuler’s recommendations. He will come back to the board in August with recommendations for specific individuals to fill these responsibilities.

“We have to very carefully look at job descriptions and define a clear chain of command and absolute accountability, within the athletics department and in general, to make sure nothing falls through the cracks,” School Board President Lisa Wiet said after the meeting. “We don’t want to miss a beat in providing a good education. At the same time, we want to ensure a safe and comfortable environment.”