|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 16 March 2011 00:00|
Camp Verde Unified School District Board member Helen Freeman, citing potential budget concerns, suggested last week looking into the possibility of eliminating the director of operations position, currently held by former Camp Verde High School Principal Chris Schultz.
Pressed further, Freeman said the district might also look at eliminating the superintendent’s position, leaving the schools to be managed by their individual principals with a person to oversee overall district finances in the administrative office.
Freeman, during the board’s regular March 8 meeting, expressed concerns over the potential that the state, facing financial concerns of its own, may withhold more money from public school districts in the upcoming fiscal year.
Freeman also said that property taxes which the school depends on may be providing less revenue in the upcoming year, along with lower attendance recorded in the classroom, which the school district depends on for a certain amount of state funding.
The district’s administration has seen a lot of changes since former Superintendent Jeff Van Handle’s contract was not renewed two years ago.
Former Camp Verde Middle School Principal Dan Brown was made superintendent and the district’s business manager retired.
Brown made Schultz the director of operations, shortly after he became superintendent.
After the district’s system of handling finances was called into question by the Arizona Office of the Auditor General, the district contracted with Yavapai County schools employee Janet Leuer to help run the business department.
Freeman said she felt there was too much duplication when it came to job responsibilities, and she didn’t see many other school districts that had a position similar to Schultz’s.
Board member Trent Hackett pointed out that Camp Verde spends around $650 per student when it comes to administration costs, much less than what similarly-sized school districts spend.
Brown said he didn’t think cutting the district’s administration staff was the answer.
“There’s such an expectation for us to reach certain … levels of success this community demands,” Brown said, adding that a huge shake-up of the district’s administration would be counterproductive.
Brown said that Leuer’s contract is up in 2012, and that someone would still be needed to help run the district.
Board member Judy Gilbert said looking into possible savings from restructuring was “a responsibility we owe our community and the taxpayers.”
Freeman and Gilbert recently found themselves at odds with Brown over what they feel was a lack of information coming from the school district’s chief administrator.
Freeman said she doesn’t think the district is running as smoothly as it could be and that looking at this sort of reorganization might be needed.
Of course, much of this discussion hinges on the actual state of district finances in the upcoming fiscal year. Leuer said that type of preliminary budget data won’t be available until later this month at the earliest.
“This is hard to discuss unless we know how the funds are going to change,” Hackett said.