Unfrozen at the top
As Pasco schools deal with an expected budget shortfall in the millions, one of the administration's key tools to keep spending in line has been a freeze of noninstructional positions.
The exception has been for "key" slots, which remain open for six weeks before they get filled. That's what happened for the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction job, the second-in-command post that carries one of the district's top salaries.
It's about to happen again for the assistant superintendent for elementary schools position.
The job ad drew four applicants -- three from outside the district and one from inside. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino "will not be interviewing an out-of-district applicants," a district spokesperson told the Gradebook, leaving just one possibility -- executive director for elementary education David Scanga (left) -- in the field. He interviewed this morning.
You'd be hard pressed to find someone in the system with negative things to say about Scanga, who has seen a meteoric rise through the ranks and who's known for his thorough and fair-minded work in such areas as testing and strategic planning. But the School Board has toyed with the idea of shrinking the administration to save money, a demand also suggested by the teachers association.
One key spot mentioned: oversight of elementary schools. Some have suggested leaving the elementary school executive director under the assistant superintendent for middle schools, saving one $100K+ salary. That's even been the interim solution since the elementary assistant superintendent job came open.
But Fiorentino has said she intends to fill the vacancy as soon as her mandatory six-week freeze ends. Board chairwoman Kathryn Starkey tells the Gradebook she supports that position, saying someone has to be in charge of elementary schools. She says Scanga's lower-level job is the one that will remain unfilled instead.