Fayette schools: Thinking small, reducing staff 2012.05.23

Written by David Green.

The Fayette Board of Education decided Monday to make a significant change in the administration of the school district. When the next school year gets underway, the superintendent might be the same person as the elementary school principal.

This isn’t the first time Fayette has taken a sidestep from tradition. It started in 2007 when retired superintendent Russ Griggs was hired on a part-time basis. Each year since then he’s reduced the number of hours spent inside the school.

With Griggs’ contract set to expire a year from now—when the veteran administrator decides to retire one final time—and with the retirement of principal Luann Boyer this year, board members have an excellent opportunity to explore other possibilities.

Is this a bold move or simply a sign of the economic times? School critics will be quick to point out that there must have been too many administrators to begin with, and there may be some truth to that opinion. Morenci and Fayette have both shown that a full-time superintendent doesn’t appear to be necessary based on enrollment size and changing duties over the years. Morenci shares a school chief and Fayette employs theirs on a part-time basis. Due to finances, Morenci now splits a principal between the middle and high schools where before each building had its own.

We’re no judge of whether conditions have gotten better or worse with the changes made. School staff members are the ones who see how well it works every day. It seems likely that something is lost every time cuts are made, but with school finances the way they are, cuts must be made.

Several small districts employ a combined superintendent/principal and it will be interesting to hear from the candidates for the Fayette job to see what they think of the arrangement. If the board interviews a candidate they like, then Fayette, too, will make the change to a smaller administrative staff.

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