Jan. 29, 2007

Schools similar to DC in size also double up administrative staff

Larger districts, the same as smaller ones, also have staff who wear many hats

By Lynda Jensen

Breakdown of administrative costs for area school districts which have enrollments that are very similar to Dassel-Cokato (PDF)

When it comes to shrinking budgets, area school districts that are very close in enrollment size to Dassel-Cokato have dealt with financial constraints in the same way as relatively smaller schools.

When it comes to administrative staff, the larger schools – much the same as the smaller ones – have staff members who perform more than one function (see graph), or cut back on other duties.

As before, three positions seem to be the target for this type of combination – athletic directors, dean of students, and curriculum directors.

Looking at four school districts that are very close to DC’s enrollment size, but are still mainly rural in nature (and don’t have access to the dollars associated with metro schools) – Worthington, Rocori, Delano, Waconia and DC – produced interesting results.

Previously, the newspaper profiled neighboring schools, four of which are inside the Wright County Conference for sports activities (Litchfield, Annandale, Watertown-Mayer, and Dassel-Cokato), along with neighboring Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. Enrollment wise, these schools are relatively smaller than DC.

Nevertheless, when looking at schools the same size, a similar pattern emerged, with other schools having administrative staff perform more than one duty, or with a combination of teachers doing administrative work part of the time.

For example, three out of four of these schools use a part-time athletic director, Rocori, Delano and Worthington. Rocori’s athletic director acts as the dean of students along with the high school assistant principal, and spends the other half of his (full-time) job teaching.

Principals at Worthington are responsible for curriculum of their respective schools, and also use curriculum committees.

In Delano, the assistant high school principal acts as the curriculum director, and a half-time teacher performs curriculum duties at Rocori.

When it comes to the dean of students, which is a job that pertains to disciplining students, districts have treated this position differently depending on the school and what the definition of an assistant principal is, which some may say is the same as a dean of students.

Dassel-Cokato features a dean of students each at both the middle and high school levels, with the other districts generally using one dean of students districtwide, or having the dean position spread across other staff members’ jobs.

Waconia uses a dean of students at the middle school level and an assistant principal at the high school level – but, the middle school position in Waconia is a teacher on “special assignment.”

Waconia also employs another teacher on “special assignment,” for its curriculum position.

When it comes to assistant principals, districts also treat this differently. Two out of the four schools (not counting Dassel-Cokato, which just cut the high school assistant principal position recently) have the assistant high school principal act as the dean of students, Worthington, and Rocori.

School budget forum set for tonight at PAC

The DC School District is looking for input about budget cuts. To this end, a forum is being conducted at the Performing Arts Center, today, Monday, Jan. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Questionnaires will be collected and reviewed by school board members at a board retreat Saturday, Feb. 3.

The questionnaire is also located on the School Page in this week’s issue of the paper. Responses may also be mailed to: dcpta@yahoo.com

It will be hosted by the PTA, and all community members are welcome.

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