Sunday, November 19, 2017
Education

Hernando superintendent of schools proposes reorganization plan

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BROOKSVILLE — A restructuring plan proposed by superintendent Lori Romano calls for big changes in the way the Hernando County School District is organized and run.

Set to be presented to the School Board on Tuesday, the plan includes 18 new district-level positions, as well as numerous changes to job titles and departments — including the elimination of stand-alone departments for technology, maintenance, facilities, exceptional student education and student services.

"When we looked at this, we thought about how to become a very consistent and uniform system that would provide better quality and service," Romano said.

Romano didn't give an estimate for how much the plan would cost, but said she would have one for board members on Tuesday.

The reorganization follows a review and examination that began when Romano took over as superintendent in July. She highlighted some of her findings regarding the current organizational chart:

• Staff members reportedly do not understand the district organization as a result of numerous changes in recent years, with the organization largely shaped by personnel changes and budget cuts — not any coherent strategy.

• Most departments are understaffed, with Hernando operating with significantly fewer district-level administrators and support staffers than similar districts.

• The two assistant superintendents have too many areas of responsibility.

• There are a number of inconsistencies in position titles and responsibility levels.

From the top down, the district would look a lot different under Romano's plan.

The titles of Hernando's two assistant superintendents would get tweaked, as would some departments they supervise. The people reporting directly to the superintendent would change.

In transportation, a secretary would be added to oversee field trips. The district's chief financial officer would get a secretary. An investigator would be added to look into complaints. There would be a new position devoted to communications and public relations. A teacher support specialist would be added to help with professional development.

Two of the biggest eliminations: The director positions for facilities and maintenance would be merged, as would the director positions for ESE and student services.

School Board members appeared cautiously optimistic about the plan when asked about it Friday.

"It's intriguing," said board member Matt Foreman. "I still have some questions as to the cost to implement it and the impact it's going to have on the district. I hope that Dr. Romano will be able to answer all of those questions."

Board member Cynthia Moore gave it a mixed review and said she wanted to hear Romano explain it.

"I would like to know who she has in mind for these jobs," Moore said.

Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

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