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School superintendent Bryan Blavatt to present third proposal for reorganizing Hernando County district office

BROOKSVILLE — Hernando school superintendent Bryan Blavatt hopes the third time will be the charm for his efforts to reorganize the district office.

The School Board has shot down two of Blavatt's previous proposals, and each time he said he would try again. He'll give it another shot at a special meeting on Thursday.

"I tried to take into consideration the concerns of the board and hopefully we'll be able to move forward," Blavatt said Friday.

The main component of Blavatt's latest plan is the addition of a second assistant superintendent's position. One of the assistants would oversee a Division of Teaching and Learning that would include departments overseeing school improvement, curriculum, federal programs and professional development. The proposed salary and benefits total nearly $122,448.

The assistant superintendent for Division of Student Support Services would oversee the departments of student services, exceptional student education, transportation, facilities and maintenance. Current assistant superintendent Sonya Jackson will likely hold this position, Blavatt said. The total compensation would be roughly $124,495 a year.

"My intent is that I use people where they're the strongest and I think that Sonya's extremely skilled in areas of student services," he said.

The Division of Business Services, which includes human resources, finance, purchasing and food services, would remain intact and continue to be headed by executive director Heather Martin.

The move would create some positions and eliminate others, ultimately saving about $42,000 for the 2011-2012 budget year and about $71,000 each year after that, according to Blavatt's memo to the board.

The reorganization relies heavily on Race to the Top and Title II grant funding.

Of nine proposed job titles accounting for some $753,000 in salaries and benefits, $330,000 would be paid for with grant dollars.

That worries Board Chairman James Yant.

The district is struggling to balance this year's budget, and the next couple of years aren't expected to be much better financially, Yant said. The federal government is also in a fiscal crisis, so if and when the grant money dries up, the district will take a hit to the general fund, Yant said.

"If we create a scenario we can't sustain, that's financially irresponsible," Yant said. "There's no sense in backing ourselves into a corner we can't get out of."

Blavatt has repeatedly warned the board that the shortage of staff at the district level is affecting the ability to provide support to the schools. His first proposal also added a second superintendent but resulted in higher expenses, causing board members to balk. The second eliminated the existing assistant superintendent and added executive directors, but that also met board resistance.

Upon the second rejection at a workshop earlier this month, a clearly frustrated Blavatt wondered aloud if the board's refusal to support its chief executive officer's efforts to reconfigure his staff is a sign he and the board are not compatible.

Asked Friday if a third rejection would prompt him to consider leaving, Blavatt said no.

"I will just be trying to swim with my hands tied," he said.

Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or tmarrero@sptimes.com.

School superintendent Bryan Blavatt to present third proposal for reorganizing Hernando County district office 06/24/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2011 8:57pm]
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