The position of assistant superintendent that I have recently accepted has created some concern in our community. Two gentlemen came to a BOE meeting to express their displeasure with the quick manner in which the decision was made. A couple of parents came to this week’s meeting, concerned that we may have cut program for the addition of this position. And someone in our community whom I respect very much sent a letter of concern to our BOE members. All ask legitimate questions.
While I appreciate that none of the concerned members of our community have expressed any displeasure with me personally, I do want to respond to the concerns as a leader in our district.
Our BOE members have acted in good faith, making the best possible decisions for our district. They do not act rashly and have discussed the need for instructional improvement for as long as I have known them. They gave considerable thought and discussion to this, in executive session. It was in executive session because confidentiality in regard to personnel issues trumps the public’s right to know in every case. Our superintendent has been very honest with everyone from the BOE to the community in open session about a succession plan and the BOE’s desire to keep me on staff. They did not have to be so open about these points, could have just said that we had additional money available from Governor Spitzer and planned to use it to focus on K-12 instructional improvement through the addition of an assistant superintendent. That would have been the safer bet, but in true fashion, Mr. Rinaldi and the BOE gave the public ALL of the information considered, not just some.
I’ve also been asked why the community didn’t vote on the addition of the position. We add and eliminate positions every year, as our needs indicate. As our enrollment and class size indicates, we may add or eliminate a teacher or two, support staff, and employees in every other aspect of our organization. The BOE votes on these issues and you trust their judgment every time. Staffing changes do not require a public vote.
It is true that I have had several other opportunities to consider in this past school year. While I enjoy my job at Gowanda very much, I would be a fool to dismiss any other inquiries as to my interest without careful consideration. That fact, coupled with Mr. Rinaldi’s desire to prepare for his own departure or retirement, has led our BOE members to PLAN for sustained leadership, something I am extremely pleased to see them doing. It is forward thinking on their part.
I’m honored that they have shown me this support and they have received my commitment to stay in Gowanda and to help to lead our district. I have worked hard to improve our high school over the past three years and am proud that my efforts are recognized. I feel passionately about our ability to improve instruction for every child and I am up to the task at hand. I lay down the challenge that no administrator will be more committed to the children of this community than I am.
I also think there has been some confusion as to my salary. It is $25-35,000 less than I keep hearing in our community. While I do not think it’s appropriate to report on this blog, I would be happy to discuss it with anyone who wants to call me at school. And absolutely, we would NOT cut programs for kids to fund my position. This is the only concern that has bothered me because I fight every day for more for our students. I believe that our expenditures should directly relate to instructional program and that we should continually push to get the most bang for our students possible, while maintaining a fair and reasonable tax rate for our residents. There remains no increase to taxes for the 2007-2008 school year.
I regret that there wasn’t time for more discussion publicly prior to my appointment. I’m certain that if people in our community knew we were previously paying BOCES support personnel only $68.00 less per day than they’re currently paying me, they would realize this isn’t a position that fell out of the clear blue sky. And the BOCES support personnel were not managers, serving only as staff development and curriculum advisors, where I will have direct line responsibility for our instructional programs. Much more bang for your buck here, I promise.
In addition, I have the opportunity to learn more about school management from a district wide perspective. Every ounce of knowledge I can gain will only make me that much better to serve the Gowanda students, faculty, staff and community for a very long time.
There you have it G-Town, but if questions remain, please call me at extension 6001, I’ll answer each and every one.