Pasco schools add "substitute principals" to the employee rolls
The names of Dave Estabrook, Ginny Yanson, Tom Rulison and Larry Albano are well known in Pasco County schools. They've each been successful and well respected principals in the system.
They're also all retired.
Yet their names appeared in this year's school district employee directory as substitute principals, a new position created in the spring to cover for current school leaders when they need to take an extended leave and someone decides the assistant principal isn't quite ready yet. They get paid $45 an hour, compared to $65 a day for substitute teachers.
So far, the district has used the position just twice -- Yanson for 16 days and Estabrook for 7 days, both during the past school year.
School Board members and United School Employees of Pasco leaders told the Gradebook that they were not familiar with the arrangement, having not been briefed by superintendent Heather Fiorentino or her staff. They didn't necessarily oppose the concept, acknowledging there are times when a seasoned hand is required.
"I just think the salary ought to be a little more commensurate with what they pay substitute teachers," USEP president Lynne Webb said.
Other area school districts did not have similar positions on their logs for us to make a meaningful comparison.
Hillsborough district spokeswoman Linda Cobbe said their schools rely on assistant principals to step in for absent principals.
"We do have a number of former principals in the positions of principal coaches (part of the Principal Pipeline project), so they would be available to guide the assistant principals if they need leadership advice," she said via e-mail. "Former principals also serve as HR partners, and they can support assistant principals, if needed."
The situation was much the same in Pinellas schools.
"As a general practice, an assistant principal runs the school in a principal’s absence," spokeswoman Melanie Marquez said. "If the assistant principal is brand new, we have in the past assigned an experienced assistant principal to the school to lead things until the principal returns."