Changes in organizational structure and consolidation of several divisions is set to save the city’s school district $4.5 million.
A reorganization plan formulated by Donnie Evans, state-appointed district superintendent, calls for the consolidation of multiple departments and the deletion of 26 positions from the district’s budget.
Evans’ plan will consolidate the Academic Services and the Early Childhood and Special Programs divisions into the Academic Services and Special Programs division. The consolidated division will be headed by Susana Peron, the current assistant superintendent for early childhood and special programs, whose title will be changed to assistant superintendent for academic services or chief academic officer, according to the plan.
Peron’s salary will be adjusted, according to the plan. The plan does not mention any figures or whether due to increase in responsibility – instead of running one division she will be running two – Peron will be entitled to an elevated salary. Peron presently earns $148,300, according to district records.
The plan also calls for the creation of an associate chief academic officer, who will assist Peron in running the new division which includes 11 sub-divisions or units like guidance and counseling, bilingual programs, gifted and talented, humanities, mathematics and science, among others. The plan does not state the salary of associate chief academic officer.
A second consolidation mentioned in the plan is that of the department of instructional technology and the department of technology into one division. The new technology division will be headed by an executive director for technology and library science, according to the plan. Dennis Vroegindewey, director of instructional technology and library media services, salary $138,100, will be in charge of the unified technology division, according to the plan.
Evans’ plan restructures the accountability office which will be run with fewer supervisors, according to the plan. The department currently has four supervisors: Brenda Patterson, chief accountability officer; Sham Bacchus and Burnice Bristow, both bearing the title, director of accountability; and Vanessa Serrano, supervisor of accountability. The plan calls for two supervisors.
Combined salaries of the current four supervisors stands at $515,986. The plan does not state whether salaries will be reduced or otherwise; however, it mention that the two supervisors, who are being removed will be reassigned to the human resources division.
Another title to be reclassified is that of chief academic officer’s position which is currently held by Anthony Cavanna to assistant superintendent for high schools.
Evans calls for the merger of director of labor relations and affirmative action into a new position titled executive director. Tyeshia Hilbert currently holds the affirmative action director position; and Luis Rojas is presently the director of labor relations for $117,000. The plan does not state who will be the executive director.
The plan calls for the reclassification of transportation manager to director of transportation. Evans’ will appoint the director, while the current transportation manager will reassigned, according to the plan.
Executive director of curriculum and instruction, a position currently held by Annalesa Williams at a salary of $125,000, will be retitled to executive director of reform and innovation, reads the plan.
Among the dizzying number of changes include reassigning two principals on assignment to budgeted but currently vacant positions. There are also movements of certain departments set forth in the plan: the department of family and community engagement will come under the office of deputy superintendent. The office of security will come under the superintendent’s office, according to the plan.
Evans’ plan abolishes thirteen clerical positions at the district office. Those currently holding those positions will be moved to vacancies in schools or reassigned to other posts in the district, reads the plan. Another set of thirteen vacant positions made vacant due to resignations or retirements will be abolished and removed from the budget.
Often a district’s budget include positions that are vacant but budgeted for, in other words monies are allocated for the position whether a body is serving at the capacity or otherwise. By deleting twenty-six positions out of the budget the district immediately realizes a savings of $1.4 million, according to a Paterson Times analysis.
The rest of the savings are difficult to pinpoint without delving into specifics which have yet to be communicated, according to Christopher Irving, school board president. “Until he’s able to tell us where we’re saving the money and how much, it’s difficult for any of us to get an understanding of it,” said Irving.
Evans’ reorganization plan comes following a finding that stated an impending fiscal cliff is bound to befall the district in 2015 and 2016. The district has spent most of its reserves making up for increasing cost of education on a flatly funded budget from the state. Since 2010, the state has been flat funding the district, according to the Paterson Education Fund, an advocacy. With no reserves to rely upon in the coming years the district is cutting to save so as to mitigate a forthcoming financial squeeze.
In December 2013, Evans promised to reduce the district office by 25-percent, the reorganization which was approved by the state two weeks ago and will be completely implemented by July 1st, 2014, does just that.
Corrections: The initial article stated that Emilio Barca was the director of district technology; he is no longer with the district. Houry Yeganeh was erroneously mentioned as being the affirmative action officer when in fact it is Tyeshia Hilbert. A revised version of this article stated Joanne Riviello was the chief academic officer when it is in fact Anthony Cavanna. A revised version of this article stated that Susana Peron was being moved up to assistant superintendent, when in fact is currently in that position.