The supervisory union embarked on several structural changes to its operations in 2008. Hiring procedures were centralized and uniform personnel provisions for non-teaching staff were implemented in all districts. The business operations of the Mettawee Community School were transferred to the supervisory union office providing greater efficiency and control for that district and at no additional cost to either the district or the supervisory union.
Our five districts who operate schools partnered with the supervisory union to consolidate photocopier leases and to go out to bid for these services together under one contract. This process took about 7 months and will ultimately result in a predicted savings of $85,000 in the first five years of the new contract with even greater savings in the future as old leases are paid off.
All districts and the central office were moved to Google’s free communication platform for educational institutions. This platform gives staff the ability to use a common messaging and calendaring system. Federal grant funds were used to implement a computerized student information system in our four schools that did not operate such a system. These systems will enhance school-parent communications and give staff better access to student achievement data. Grant funds were also used to purchase an emergency messaging system for all of our schools. This system, AlertNOW, gives each school the ability to contact parents instantly by sending a single message through a web-based interface.
A central special education database was established in the supervisory union office over the summer. This centralization required the consolidation of approximately 15 separate databases throughout the supervisory union. The new configuration allows staff to access the database over the Internet, and gives staff better data on special education programs across all districts. This consolidation of databases allowed the supervisory union to eliminate a clerical position.
The boards began a process to revise administrative job descriptions. A particular focus of this work is the examination of the responsibilities of the superintendent as compared to the principals. This work will be helpful in clarifying expectations for all staff, and will lead to the establishment of evaluation processes for administrators that are closely tied to meeting organizational objectives.
The boards embarked upon a major revision of their policy manuals with the intent of standardizing the mandatory policies required by the state while at the same time maintaining local flexibility in areas of special interest to their communities. Having standardized mandatory policies will provide common policy language to support the training of staff in areas of emerging legal concern. The new policies articulate how each board will operate and describe the organizational objectives of each district. The policy process will culminate in a mass policy adoption in the Spring of 2009.
The work described above represents the earnest support of many volunteer board members who have given countless hours on behalf of their districts. Their ability to work together to leverage centralization where prudent and to maintain local control when necessary is indicative of their exemplary dedication to public service. This work also represents the commitment of our building level staff to serve all our students and families. I thank them for their work. Such dedication will be necessary to navigate our current economic circumstances. I feel confident, however, that we are off to a good start and have formed the basis of a productive working relationship. We will continue to seek opportunities to become more efficient in our operations but not lose sight of our primary mission to meet the educational needs of all of our students.