South Orange-Maplewood District to Stick With Approved Administrative Structure

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Despite opportunities to rethink administration due to retirements and resignations, the South Orange-Maplewood School District administrative structure approved through the 2016-17 budget process will remain in place for the upcoming school year.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Ramos made the announcement at the June 20 meeting of the Board of Education. Previously, the district had indicated that “[r]ecent retirements and resignations among the supervisors have prompted us to begin this conversation [about administrative restructuring] earlier than expected.”

English Language Arts and Fine Arts supervisor posts are being advertised and will be filled, Ramos reported to the Board of Education on June 20.

The maintenance of a Fine Arts supervisor was good news to a number of parents and community members — including Barbara Cokorinos and Marcy Thompson — who advocated during public comments for protecting arts education and continuing to staff the position.

While there were previously two separate ELA Supervisors for K-8 and 9-12, the decision to collapse the two positions into one administrator for ELA K-12 was approved during the budget process, according to a district spokeswoman.

“This change was part of the approved budget and plan for 2016-2017,” said Suzanne Turner, Director of Strategic Communications for SOMSD. “We reduced the number of supervisors by two, creating a STEM supervisor for grades 9-12, similar to what we have for grades K-8, and making the ELA supervisor K-12 instead of one K-8 and a second 9-12. These reductions were accommodated through attrition due to expected retirements.”

The position for a STEM supervisor grades 9-12 has been advertised and the district expects to have someone in place by the start of the school year, said Turner.

Anonymous sources had previously told Village Green that the district was considering eliminating some supervisor positions and putting all subjects under two supervisors: one for ELA, Social Studies, and Fine and Performing Arts; and another for STEM — or “Science Technology Engineering Math.”

In response, Turner had said that that information was not quite correct — the district was also looking at potentially creating a new position for a Humanities supervisor, for example. She also stressed, “Nothing is decided at this point, and we may hold off on recommending any changes and maintain the current structure for another year.”

On June 20, Ramos confirmed that the current structure would be maintained and that future conversations about administrative structure would then benefit from the completion of the Strategic Plan.

Turner also promised, “Recommendations would be shared with the community in advance, so that community members would have the opportunity to share feedback and concerns prior to the Board of Education being asked to take action.”

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