Two people in the Central Office of the were approved for interim administrative duties in the district on Thursday.
In separate 4-3 votes, the Board of Education approved both an assistant superintendent for the district and assistant principal for , both on an interim basis. The latter vote is part of restructuring in the high school that replaces two academic dean positions with a second assistant principal position.
Kate Ericson, who has been employed as the district’s supervisor of instruction and assessment, will serve as the assistant superintendent during the summer. The academic deans in the high school will fill the assistant superintendent positions, with Lawrence Washington in the full-time position and Margaret Bucaram in the interim position.
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Ericson replaces Christine Carver, who left the district on May 1 to become associate superintendent of schools and chief of staff in the Office of Human Capital Development in the Newington Public Schools.
Secretary Jason Catala, who has , said he did not think the board should retain the position given the if the district’s budget as proposed is approved.
“The board needs to look at the responsibilities of the administrators and the people who are working in our district…I think we could have saved four positions by cutting this position,” said Catala.
Board member Delanna Muse questioned whether the assistant superintendent would be necessary for the period between the school years.
“I didn’t see many duties that the assistant will be doing over the summer,” she said. “I saw that they were dispersed over the other administrators.”
Superintendent Nicholas Fischer said that since some administrators are on 10-month contracts, more duties fall to year-round administrators during the summer. He said the assistant superintendent’s duties over the summer will include personnel issues such as handling grievances and resignations, directing materials and supplies to school buildings, development of summer school and other programs, and curriculum development.
“It’s an intense time when we really get behind if we don’t have an assistant superintendent during the summer,” he said.
James Mitchell, a consultant to the board from the Connecticut Department of Education, said the district improvement plan is one of the major tasks falling to the assistant superintendent. He also said that distributing more responsibilities to other administrators would involve changing job descriptions, something which would have to be negotiated before it could take place.
President Bill Morse and board members Margaret Curtin, Barbara Major, and Sylvia Potter voted in favor of appointing the position. Catala, Muse, and Vice President Elizabeth Garcia Gonzalez voted against it.
Fischer said having two assistant principals at the high school reduces the administrative staff by one person and allows for more efficient handling of matters such as curriculum coordination and teacher evaluations. He said the district will save about $70,000 per year as a result of the change, and that one position is interim to allow the district to continue searching for candidates while having the second assistant principal position available at present.
“We are not adding administrators in the building,” said Fischer. “I want to make that very clear.”
A motion to table the item until the next meeting to get exact figures on the savings that would result from the change failed due to a lack of a majority vote. Catala, Curtin, Major, and Morse supported the interim principal appointment while Garcia-Gonzalez, Muse, and Potter opposed it.