Payroll to grow by $200,000 at Calhoun County Schools
by Laura Johnson
Jun 13, 2012 | 4242 views |  0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Calhoun County’s school system is adding almost $200,000 to the payroll next year for administrative positions and will retain roughly the same number of educators in its classrooms as last year, according to school system officials.

The system will move two current principals into newly created assistant director positions and officials are reviewing applications for another top-level administrative job. At the same time, they’re reviewing attendance numbers and trying to determine how the system can retain the 538 teachers it employed last year, Calhoun County Superintendent Joe Dyar said.

Former Weaver High School Principal Frances Shipp will become the assistant director of the transportation department and White Plains High School Principal Todd Chandler will move to the system’s career technical center as assistant director, Dyar said.

The system will also move Ohatchee High School Principal Robin Kines to serve as director of the system’s alternative school. Kines, who makes roughly $85,000, will retain her salary although the most recent director of the alternative school made less. Lesley Poe, the system’s chief financial officer, said Kines' new position will add $30,000 to the payroll.

The salary for each of the assistant director positions will be about $80,000. Benefits included, that cost will rise to $102,000.

Meanwhile, the school system is searching for a second deputy superintendent. If the search is successful, costs in Calhoun County could increase again by the time the new school year begins.

The person selected to serve as the deputy superintendent would make between $94,000 and $104,000 per year, before benefits are included.

Currently the system spends slightly less than 3 percent of its overall budget on administrative salaries at the central office. That percentage will likely stay about the same, even with the addition of another deputy superintendent.

A review of numbers provided online by the Alabama Department of Education shows that Calhoun is not unlike surrounding counties, most of which spend roughly 3 percent of their budget on central office administrative salaries.

In the 2008-09 school year, Calhoun County had 9,256 students, one superintendent and four deputy superintendents. Etowah County Schools and Lee County Schools are both of a comparable size to Calhoun County Schools.

Also during the 2008-09 school year, Etowah County Schools employed one superintendent and two deputy superintendents. Lee County employed one superintendent and three deputy superintendents, according to reports published by the state department of education.

Officials in the system also plan to select a current employee to serve as an assistant director for special education. That position will be filled by someone within the system, and they will receive a modest pay raise, Superintendent Joe Dyar said.

Over the past year four administrative positions were vacated and were not refilled. The deletion of those four positions saved the system between $325,000 and $350,000, Poe said.

The new positions also come as board attorney Robin Andrews and security director Mike Fincher, both central-office employees, are retiring. Deputy Superintendent Karen Winn said their positions will not be immediately replaced.

Instead, the new deputy superintendent, if hired, would take on some of their responsibilities, Winn said.

The addition of administrative positions also comes as school officials try to determine how they will retain teachers for the next academic year. Last year the school system employed 538 teachers,. Of those teaching positions, 521 were funded by the state and 17 were funded with local money.

This year the school system may lose teachers, officials said. They already know that the number of state funded teachers will fall to 516 because fewer students enrolled in Calhoun County Schools last year.

Officials remain unsure about how many locally-funded educators the system will employ next year. It depends on kindergarten and first-grade enrollment numbers, which will not be known for a few more weeks, Poe said.

But, officials added, they’re committed to retaining the same number of educators for the next academic year.

Staff Writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter@Lbjohnson_Star.

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