A divided Springboro school board recently added a handful of new administrative positions, despite opposition from one member who worried about increasing management jobs after cuts made a decade ago.
With board member Lisa Babb voting no, the board promoted two administrators to assistant superintendent positions and created curriculum coordinator, operations supervisor and human resources coordinator positions.
“Right now the current administration is stretched. In some cases, they are stretched almost to the breaking point,” Superintendent Dan Schroer said during the April 25 board meeting when the changes were made.
The district last had an assistant superintendent in 2009, when Larry Hook was the last of more than 30 employees cut in the aftermath of four failed levies.
Babb expressed concern about the additional administrative staff, especially anticipating going to voters in coming years for a levy for additional operating funds.
“I’m concerned over all with the positions we’re adding. That’s a lot of administration,” Babb said during the meeting. “Until we know for sure the community is saying we are ready for this, I’d like to see the saving directly impacting the students.”
Starting on Aug. 1, Andrea Cook, currently the district’s curriculum director, will be paid $113,560 a year for three years, as assistant superintendent of instruction.
As assistant superintendent of operations, Carrie Hester, currently the human resources director, will be paid $103,360 a year for three years, starting on Aug. 1.
Babb joined the other four board members in creating an assistant treasurer-accounting supervisor, filling an open technology director position and updating the exempt pay scale for administrators working for the Springboro Community City Schools. On Thursday, the board was to approve a two-year contract with Cindy Florio as accounting supervisor Thursay, but postponed the meeting until Monday, May 20.
In the April 25 meeting and in documents supporting the changes, Schroer said the changes brought the district in line with other districts with at least 5,000 students and buffered administrators from day-to-day issues.
“This is long overdue,” Board member Dan Gudz said.
Some of the costs are to be offset by the resignation of John Pennell, the district’s executive director of operations, and other attrition.
“When John Pennell agreed to resign, this exposed the fact that our organization had one person with entirely too much knowledge and work responsibility. Ultimately, this leadership ‘power’ was not efficient and could have exposed our organization to financial and systematic weaknesses. There were no oversight checks and balances due to the fact that this position handled too many roles,” Schroer said in a board memo.
District voters rejected five levies for new money before passing a continuing substitute levy in November 2017 to raise more than $7.9 million a year.
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Board President Jamie Belanger said the changes allowed Schroer, Treasurer Terrah Floyd, Cook and Hester to be proactive rather than reactive and was in keeping with the district’s strategic planning efforts.
“We’ve been operating at a very scaled-down level,” Belanger said. “These changes allow us to act at a more strategic level.”
Belanger and Babb face re-election in November. Neither has filed, but both are expected to run.
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