There are a number of hard-working laid-off educators and support staff to whom I want to offer my unqualified support. I don't want the career educators in Lament. (Lay-Offs Part I) to get mixed up with the folks I'm talking about in this post.
This process has been a real challenge to those in charge at the unified district for all of the obvious reasons. But I hope that the powers that be have taken the opportunity to clean house in a meaningful way. There are a number of people, on both sides of the house, that can appropriately be shown the door. The real challenge is to know the difference between the people we should miss and the people we should not.
I encourage us to pay very close attention to has been selected to stay in administration, both at the school and Central Office level. We haven't seen the list yet, and we can hope that we will actually get to see a list or a staff directory to let us know who has stayed and where.
If this fiscal climate requires that people be shown the door, it matters who stays. Old political loyalties should not be taken into account, nor should ongoing alignments with School Board members. How a person got their job in the first place should be. I'm not sorry to see the back of anyone who got their job because of who they were sleeping with. I'm not sorry to see the back of anyone who can't speak cogently about their work without dedicated staff (who actually do the work, and cover their boss's inability to do so) whispering in their ear. I'm not sorry to see the back of low-performers who got their jobs because they are related to high-performers. I'm not sorry to see the back of anyone who landed at Central Office because they were being disciplined, or had to be moved because of accusations of poor conduct at their old school. These are people that probably should be shown the door anyway, and the merger is an opportunity. These kinds of staffers are ammunition for reformers, and we shouldn't have needed the merger to usher them out.
I'm looking for meritorious appointments of people who have earned their positions, and who deserve more money than we can afford to pay them. I'm suspicious of leap-froggers who have such a learning curve that those that report to them have to train them in their job functions. People have long memories around here, and they remember who got passed over when, and why. Let's make sure we've limited the "why's" to meritorious and job performance reasons this time around.
Lay-offs have been a terrible by-product of this merger. Even a couple of ill-considered appointments by the new brass disrespects those who are not asked to stay. We've seen it happen before at transitions to new superintendents. It took years for SCS to recover from the damage to morale wrought by a (not-the-most) recent superintendent's appointments.
We know it's a challenge, but it's important that this be done in a way that makes sense. I'm aware of at least some decisions that make a lot of sense, but there's still time to fix any mistakes that have been made. I know I'm not the only one looking forward to the new org charts and/or staff directories to see who has been invited to stay on in the unified district.