In a move to shift power from the bureaucracy to the schools, Baltimore County's new school superintendent is transferring employees from the central office to schools throughout the county.
Superintendent Stuart D. Berger has announced that 19.5 positions will be transferred from the Division of Instruction to various schools, where the employees will work as principals, assistant principals or teachers.
"What's happened is that the new superintendent sees that . . . in order to pump more into schools, he's going to have to reduce more from here," said Robert F. McNeish, the Division of Instruction's associate superintendent, who is retiring.
Because the division's personnel are already familiar with making staffing and curriculum decisions, it only makes sense to move those individuals into county schools, says Richard E. Bavaria, spokesman for county schools.
Mr. McNeish said that because of budget cuts, his 152-member staff lost 47 positions.
He said 25.5 of the positions were eliminated through retirements, two employees died, and the remaining 19.5 positions will be transferred.
In addition to increasing the amount of administrative power in each school, the transfers are a way to reduce the division's staff without resorting to layoffs, Mr. McNeish said.
Professional staff members will be moved into comparable positions as assistant principals and principals, said Mr. McNeish.
Those who teach part-time in county schools as instructional specialists may be offered teaching positions if they prefer.
Decisions about specific positions have not been made.
Mr. McNeish said many of his employees are frustrated and scared by changes they feel are eroding a long-held sense of job security, while others are glad to see an end to the months of speculation that followed the announcement of Dr. Berger's appointment. They also are relieved to still have jobs within the system.
As the messenger for some of Dr. Berger's changes, Mr. McNeish said: "I've been in this 32 years . . . and I have to say that the last two weeks have been the most difficult."
Dr. Berger, who was en route back to Wichita, Kan., after spending last week in Baltimore County, was not available for comment.