Stuart David Berger, Baltimore County's new school superintendent, announced staff changes and further personnel reductions last night -- at the end of his first day on the job.
The changes were seen as furthering his goal of putting more power into the hands of school principals. He was appearing at his first public meeting with the school board.
Of the cuts in administrative personnel, Mr. Berger told the board: "It was given that we had to do this," adding that the deleted positions were "meant to be a temporary solution . . . to the budget situation. But I'm convinced that this budget recommendation . . . is consistent with your vision statement."
The cuts were also consistent with Dr. Berger's previously announced plans to move power from the central bureaucracy and into the schools themselves. Transfer of nearly 20 positions from the division of instruction to various schools was announced last month.
Those employees will now work as principals, assistant principals or teachers.
The additional cuts from the division result in a net reduction of 43 positions.
Among the cuts are associate superintendent for division of instruction, a position formerly held by Robert F. McNeish, who is retiring. Also cut was an associate superintendent's job previously held by Walter G. Amprey, now Baltimore City school superintendent.
Rosalie Hellman was approved last night for her third term as school board president.
Calvin D. Disney was also approved for a third term as vice president.
Ms. Hellman thanked Dr. Berger and his staff after the board approved his proposed staffing changes.
"I know that you had to make some really, really tough decisions, and the board does appreciate all the work you've done," she said.
Among the announced staffing changes was appointment of Steve Walts, formerly a principal at Brooks Magnet Middle School in Wichita, Kan., as assistant superintendent for northwest Baltimore County.