St. Paul schools streamlining management

  • Article by: DAAREL BURNETTE II , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2011 - 10:09 PM

The reorganization that begins over the summer will save an estimated $11 million.

The St. Paul School District's administration will be drastically restructured this summer to cut $11 million from its budget and to become more efficient.

The changes include combining several positions and departments and eliminating others.

"This reorganization really is designed to enhance the work of academics," said Suzanne Kelly, the district's chief of staff. "We're saving money and creating efficiencies in other areas."

The school board approved the changes at its last board meeting. The changes will take place in July.

In the end, five administrators will report directly to Superintendent Valeria Silva and seven new positions will be created.

That's down from the 10 administrators who reported directly to her under the old organization chart.

The district is facing a possible $25 million budget deficit next school year that will force cuts across the board.

Under the administration's proposed budget cuts, the district would lay off 304 employees and slash millions of dollars from several departments. Several administrative offices and the print copy mail center would be eliminated. Most of the district employees facing layoffs were hired with money from last year's federal stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The school board is expected to vote on the budget cuts in June.

Under the new plan, a chief of staff, chief business officer for the division of finance and operations, a chief of schools, a chief academic officer and a chief of accountability will all report to the superintendent.

The district will bring back the chief of schools position, whose responsibility will include working with principals, evaluating schools and organizing professional development for teachers.

"That's an enhancement to support implementation of our Strong Schools, Strong Communities vision plan" that realigns school boundaries, Kelly said.

The former secondary schools assistant superintendent position will split into a high school and a middle school assistant superintendent positions.

That will allow for the middle school superintendent to focus on the district's transition of sixth-graders moving from elementary into middle schools.

"We're making a major switch by moving our sixth grade into middle school grades," Kelly said. "We need a lot of leadership and focus to make sure that's done correctly. We want that to be a seamless transition for our students and staff."

The district's printing plant, which has traditionally printed everything from classroom worksheets to the board agendas, will shut down under the reorganization.

The St. Paul city government's printing plant will assume that role starting next year.

To view the entire organizational chart, visit bit.ly/kb1zu3.

Daarel Burnette II• 651-735-1695 Twitter: @DaarelStrib

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