I wrote last week that the Little Rock School District shouldn't be viewed in simple black and white terms, as many prefer. The School Board is majority black now and the superintendent is black, too. But if you think that means Superintendent Linda Watson is getting a pass from those School Board members, you need to pay closer attention.
She lost last week a request for a new deputy superintendent. And the Board is pressing her on trimming administrative ranks and other spending, particularly on outside consultants, in favor of a focus on the classroom.
On the jump, a note from School Board President Dianne Curry, Superintendent Watson's response and Curry's reply give a little flavor of what's going on behind the scenes.
JUNE 17 E-MAIL FROM DIANNE CURRY
Please provide a listing of all teacher/administrators job eliminations and or cuts in contracts for all staff for 2008-2010. This information was never provided to the board.
Also please provide a listing of any consultant contracts for Instructional
Leaders for the 2008, 2009, and 2010.
JUNE 18 RESPONSE FROM LINDA WATSON
No one at this point has lost a job, unless they were employed by a grant and were not a district employee when they accepted the grant positions. I am not aware of teachers whose positions were eliminated. I am aware of the tightening of positions in schools with decreased enrollment. Those teachers have been permitted to choose other positions. I have forwarded a chart to you which illustrated the jobs that could be eliminated or cut in administration, along with a chart that explained the positions.
There were a few literary or math coaches’ contracts that were not aligned with the other coaches’ contracts and they were corrected.
As far as contracts are concerned, I will check with Curriculum and Instruction and Procurement. Please remember, we bring in consultants to provide professional development on a consistent basis. Professional development is currently being provided and planned for the next school year for teachers as well as administrators. Previously, I have expressed concern regarding professional development for administrators. We are exploring opportunities that will assist in that endeavor by training central office staff and other administrators who could provide assistance for the district’s administrators. In some instances, it is more economical to bring consultants in to provide the PD than to have individuals travel to the training.
On another note, we have received EOC exam data which shows improvement in some areas. As soon as they have been reviewed for errors, we will release them.
JUNE 18 REPLY FROM DIANNE CURRY
Thanks. However, please provide the listing of all contracts executed by the district. Please copy all board members.