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NK board member Strickland plans to challenge administrative staffing plans for 2010-2011

July 7th, 2010 by marietta nelson

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North Kitsap School Board member Ed Strickland has been making quite a fuss lately over planned cuts in the school district’s budget, and Thursday night at the school board meeting he plans to make a little more.

On the agenda is an item to approve a benefits package for administrators in NK. Strickland plans to make a motion to remove the name of Jon Torgerson from that list. Torgerson has been hired to serve as interim principal at Suquamish Elementary for the 2010-11 school year. He will replace Joe Davalos, who will become superintendent of education for the Suquamish tribe. To save money, Strickland wants a central office administrator to serve as interim at Suquamish. Strickland estimates the savings would provide for almost two teachers.

“I just don’t think we need that many administrators at the central office when we’re cutting teachers,” he said. NK did not lay-off teachers this year, but the district did not fill some teaching positions that will be vacant, which will result in slightly higher class sizes for the 2010-11 school year.

Strickland said his proposal is not unprecedented. He recalled when curriculum director Wally Lis served as interim at Poulsbo Middle School for a year. He also made it clear that it’s nothing personal. “This isn’t a reflection on Torgerson, this is a reflection of the budget.”

It’s not clear how successful Strickland will be with this plan. Board President Tom Anderson, who has voiced support for a proposal like this, will be absent from the meeting. That leaves new members Kathleen Dassel and Dan Weedin and long-time board member Val Torrens to weigh in. NK’s board meetings have been interesting of late. I don’t think Thursday night will  be much different.

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3 Responses to “NK board member Strickland plans to challenge administrative staffing plans for 2010-2011”

  1. Catherine Ahl Says:

    I don’t believe Jon Torgerson has been “hired” by the district since I cannot find in the minutes that the School Board has approved that hire. State law requires that the Board approve all prospective employees. And Val Torens isn’t a “long time” Board member, just having been elected in Nov. 2007. From my experience on the Board, it takes at least 4 years to really begin to understand the budget. It was a recommendation from the Citizens Budget Committee that an administrator fill the position of interim principal at Suquamish Elementary to save money, and Ed is just trying to keep that discussion alive – and I support him. If these are the tough times the district says it is, then all possibilities need to be looked at in order to keep the cuts as far away from the classrooms as possible. Otherwise it’s all talk but no action.

  2. Renee Arcement Says:

    I would like to encourage the board to not only replace Davalos with a District non-bargained administrator, but also please do not increase the same employees benefit package. Just because the bargained employees are getting this does not mean the non-bargained administrators should automatically receive it. This recommendation to replace Davalos with an assist. superintendent or director was also made by the Community Budget Committee. (The #’s also changed from $30something per month to $18? I am not sure how this happened or if it is only reflecting the amount the increase is with the bargained employees and not what it would be for the non-bargained.)

    It looks like the board would have the communities support in this decision and as Catherine stated above, the board has NOT approved Torgerson’s hiring. It looks like this is trying to be slipped in, as last years promotions of two non-bargained positions at the hill were. It caught the board by surprise again.

    I appreciate our 3 board members (that have been through a few budget cycles) understanding that our administrators need to carry some of the fiscal cutting burden. Our teachers have taken it with the State no longer paying for two days of in-service (LIDs) which were then cut by NKSD.

    As Val Torrens said a few weeks ago they need to have some wiggle room and through the admin taking cuts OR not hiring someone else to fill the vacant principal position they are getting that to a certain extent.

    Then if they put a freeze on travel outside of district they could possibly hire back 3-4 teachers that are not being replaced.

    Lastly, I hope they look closely at what the pay adjustment is for the assistant directorS. Our organizational chart only shows one assistant director. Please make sure that is who it is talking about. Again, wouldn’t that have been a bargained admin position and not non-bargained?

    Remember our kids first and our Superintendent works for you! Keep strong NKSD Board of Directors!

  3. Colleen Smidt Says:

    While I am not a parent or citizen of the NKSD, I am watching this with great interest. I continue to be impressed with Mr. Strickland. His thought process and way of doing business.

    I learned from a previous similar counterpart in Bremerton, Mr. Mitchell that many times issues that continue to be brought to the forefront by an individual board member and are labeled as “fussed over” by other observers typically speaks on the surface to a much larger problem behind the scenes with uncooperative school board members, political jockeying and infighting from Administrators that is known to the participating insiders but not the public.

    Renee is right. Mr. Strickland is doing an excellent job of representing his constituents on the NK Finance Committee and supporting with continued discussion what their recommendations were. Recommendations about Administration staffing that mirror what has been put forth by other Citizen involved Finance Committees in other Kitsap Districts.

    School District Administration all over this State are going to have their hands full of actively participating dissatisfied parents and community members if they continue to repeatedly ignore the calls for reductions in Admin staffing. The Superintendent of Bremerton has already publically stated that he does not and will not support recommendations from District Employees and Community Members for Admin staffing reductions in Bremerton. This will bite back at him eventually.

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