Mere months after “budget crisis” and budget cuts, new Superintendent hires “Special Assistant”

What are we to think when only days into a new fiscal year and just days on the job, the new Superintendent commits the equivalent of a full-time teacher’s salary so that he can “supervise” a PhD Education Leadership resident?

Didn’t the District just have what the Board described as a “budget crisis”? Didn’t the District just absorb $10M+ in budget cuts? Didn’t the District just narrowly avoid closing 4 additional neighborhood schools and cuts to successful student-facing programs?

If the fiscal situation is so dire, where did the money for this “resident” miraculously appear?

I realize there is some “slush” in a $1B budget. But shouldn’t some of that “slush” have been found only a few short months earlier, before successful programs were recommended for reduction?

Why didn’t the District staff find that “extra” money then? Or is the new Superintendent such a financial wizard that he could identify it after only a few short days on the job? How did he find this money at the beginning of the fiscal year before under-spends could be identified?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that the optics of this immediate “hire” are not good. This “hire” makes me wonder the following:

  • Why does the new, highly paid Superintendent need a “Special Assistant”?
  • Where is this money really coming from? The response to the CORA request I filed stated it is coming from the (already reduced by $54,000 due to budget reductions) Superintendent’s Admin budget, or other unspecified accounts at management discretion. This means it is coming from some still unknown budget line.

  • Why should we ever trust the District/Board when they say there is a “budget crisis” if they can come up with the salary for one teacher equivalent just days into a new fiscal year? It makes me wonder where else they are “hiding” money.
  • What value is this “Special Assistant” really going to provide to the District, above and beyond staff that is already on the payroll and familiar with the District?
  • Why did the new Superintendent agree to this?

I’m sorry, but when the District keeps saying that they’re no longer going to fund successful and life-changing student-facing programs such as the District’s HS GT program, yet can miraculously and instantaneously find money for the Superintendent’s “Special Assistant”, I don’t think you can trust any future “budget crisis” or proposed budget cuts!

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