Administrative shifts coming for local schools, possible reduction

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
February 27th, 2013

The School District 51 school board will be taking a serious look at their administrative needs now two of the district’s principals will be moving up to the board office this summer.

The recent appointment of Perley Elementary School principal Kevin Argue as superintendent and Hutton Elementary School principal Doug Lacey as the newly named director of learning means there are two vacant principal positions to be filled.

SD51 superintendent Michael Strukoff said now the two top-level administrative positions have been filled in the district and the middle school decision has been made, the board can now concentrate on planning for the future, which includes shifting around the present administrators.

Currently the school district has 10 administrator positions. Three of those  — on principal and two vice principals — are at Grand Forks Secondary School.

Unlike teachers, administrators have a personal service contract with the district that allows the school board to re-assign a principal to a different school as they see fit.

 “Kevin (Argue) and I have been meeting with individual administrators and asking them their hopes and aspirations,” said Strukoff. “We’ll bring a proposal this spring. But it will take a little time. The administrators know there will be some movement but have been instructed to continue planning for next year as though they will be there.”

“We’re also considering how many administrators we need and there may be a reduction (in positions),” said Strukoff.

Norm Sabourin, Boundary Teachers’ Association president, said teachers are naturally worried about the changes to come.

Sabourin often criticizes the school board for being administratively top heavy. Many principals in the smaller schools are administrators for half the day and then they teach for the other half. The same is done for the vice principals at Grand Forks Secondary School. Sabourin said those administrators get paid an administrative salary, even for the teaching time they do, making them more expensive.

“This district is top-heavy with the administrator student ratio and is higher than other districts in the province,” said Sabourin, adding that GFSS hasn’t reduced their administrative staff in the last decade even though the number of students has gone from 600 to 350.

Argue will take over as superintendent July 1, 2013 and Lacey will take over Maxine Ruzicka’s position as the director of instruction. The board has chosen to change the name of the job to director of learning to give “a fresh new look to the role”, said Strukoff.

“It’s a small shift. (The position) is not about instruction but about kids learning.”

Both Strukoff and Ruzicka are retiring in July 2013. Right now Argue and Lacey are job shadowing them to ensure a smooth transition.

“They are juggling running their schools while transitioning into their new jobs – so the workload has gone up for them,” said Strukoff.

Categories: EducationGeneral