Reorganization begins for Hernando Schools
Let the shakeup begin.
Eight months into his job as superintendent of the Hernando County Schools, Wayne Alexander this week unveiled a long-awaited district restructuring plan to School Board members and principals. He said the plan would save $395,036 per year, beef up the delivery of technology instruction and support, and streamline a curriculum that he’s called hopelessly snarled.
Under his proposal, two top lieutenants — Ken Pritz, executive director of support services, and Barbara Kidder, director of labor relations and professional standards — would see their current positions eliminated. Both would have a good shot at getting similar positions in a revamped organization chart.
But there are no promises.
"I feel good about being around next year,” Pritz said Thursday.
Since his hiring last August from a Connecticut district, Alexander has minced few words. He’s pointed to a low metabolism in central office, job overlap, principals in the district's 21 schools marching to their own drummers, and a frustrating lack of consistency in the quality and procedures for educating the district’s 23,000 students. And he’s railed about some glaring deficiencies, like the lack of a single grant writer.
“Millions of dollars are available in state and federal grants,” wrote Alexander, who did not return several calls for comment.
If the board supports his plan, that will change next fall with the addition of a $91,000 position to bring in state, federal and non-profit funds that are currently passing the district by.
On the curriculum side, two elementary and secondary positions would be replaced by five slots: one for the elementary, middle and high school levels plus a subject area specialty, and two more for the remaining academic subjects. David Schoelles and Debbie Pfenning have already been penciled into the elementary and middle slots respectively, and specialist Elaine Wooten has announced her retirement
The district would also add three math coaches, one for each division.
In the technology realm, the Management Information Systems director position held by Cindy Peters at a salary of $107,487 would be replaced by a supervisor’s position for $91,000 and another director of technology and information position. Twenty technology teachers would morph into 10 technology support specialists and 10 more instructional technology specialists.
The plan would also cut positions in maintenance, transportation and support services, and add seniority categories in the maintenance department.
Notably absent in the plan was any reference to changes in the principals’ corps, aside from the elimination of two assistant principal positions. But officials said it was likely that many principals would find themselves at new schools next fall.
Several board members said the liked what they’ve seen so far.
"It’s something that’s been needed for a long, long time,” said Pat Fagan. “I just hope we don’t have a lot of internal fighting over the changes that are being recommended. I’m sure there are some people who don’t want change."
The plan is due to be discussed April 1 by the School Board, and must be ratified by a board vote.
For more details on the plan, read tomorrow's St. Petersburg Times or visit www.tampabay.com/news/hernando.
--Tom Marshall, Times staff writer