School district shakes up central office staff - cuts 65
This story has been updated.
Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero is following through on his promises to slash the administrative budget in Portland Public Schools.
The effect is continued churn in the district's administrative positions with 65 positions being eliminated and a restructuring of several departments.
In a statement, Guerrero said the move was necessary "given the inadequate resources available to PreK-12 public education in Oregon."
Guerrero and the school board have already agreed to future and retroactive raises for teachers, ending a two-year contract stalemate. District leadership also announced a new staffing model to calculate how many teachers, paraeducators and other schools staff would be needed in each school. The total estimated costs for both of those changes was $63 million.
Guerrero has said that his budget for 2018-19 will put more resources in the classroom.
"As a result, we have realigned a number of our central office functions and made a number of staff reductions at the district office so that we can close the budget gap while concentrating our focus on support for schools and educators that is more squarely student-centered and equity-focused," Guerrero said.
District spokesman Harry Esteve confirmed that Chief Operating Officer Jerry Vincent and Chief Strategic Officer Laura Parker have submitted their resignations, though their last day is not yet set as they work on transition plans.
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Dave Northfield, the district's main media liaison, has had his position eliminated effective June 30.
"Dave's focus will shift from external communications and will focus on assisting the senior director with transition planning," Esteve said.
In addition, Jeanine Fukuda's position as senior director of the Office of Equity and Partnerships has been eliminated.
"The superintendent views his role as Chief Equity Officer for the district, and as such is committed to ensuring our equity work informs everything we do," Esteve said. "We (are) broadening our work to improve outcomes for students of color, and accountability for that work now rests in the superintendent's office."
In new information released Tuesday, the district revised its Monday figure of 35 employees cut to 65. The extra 30 included vacant positions that were closed as well as more details on the fact that four of the 35 had resigned or been reassigned.
In mid-March, spokesman Northfield said "a handful" of administrators also had seen their hours drop to 75 percent. These cuts would add to those.
The effort is related to the need to find $20 million in the 2018-19 budget.
"Today's reorganization is the result of the need to balance our budget and prioritize core services and supports that most directly impact student outcomes," Esteve said.
Guerrero promised to look for cuts in the central office, but at an April 10 board meeting, interim Budget Director Ryan Dutcher noted that many expenses categorized in the budget as "central office" are actually student-related, such as special education and transportation.
UPDATE (4/23/18): This story was updated with information from the district.
UPDATE (4/25/18): This story was updated with new figures of the number of cuts.
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