School board shelves parent coordinator post

June 20, 1993|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer Staff writer Karin Remesch contributed to this article.

Ending months of bitter wrangling, Harford's school board has put off creating a controversial $54,000-a-year position to coordinate parent volunteer efforts.

The money will instead go toward upgrading assistant principals at four elementary schools to full-time administrators, the school board decided last week.

The assistant principals are among 18 who now must split their time between teaching and administrative duties.

Money for upgrading assistant principals, the top priority of a countywide PTA group, became the focus of a fierce tug of war this spring between the County Council and County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.

The executive vetoed $250,000 the council shifted to education to upgrade 11 assistant principal positions. A bid to override the veto failed, but the council managed to provide $200,000 toward the upgrades.

The school system came up with $54,000 more by putting off the new volunteer coordinator position, the object of sharp criticism from some lawmakers, who said Harford schools had much more pressing needs such as teachers, school equipment and supplies.

Now, the school system says it will be able to upgrade 13 assistant principal positions in the coming school year with the $254,000. The money is to be spent to create full-time teaching positions so that assistant principals no longer have to teach.

The remaining five assistant principal slots at Harford elementaries will be upgraded in the 1995 fiscal year, school officials say.

Ron Eaton, a school board member, said hiring enough teachers to get the assistant principals out of the classroom was more important than hiring a volunteer coordinator.

"Part-time assistant principals are so divided and pressured because they are continually pulled between their classroom students and the needs of administrating large and complex schools," Mr. Eaton said.

He said the job of parent volunteer coordinator will be postponed until at least January. He said he expects the job to be renamed and the salary to be much less than $54,000.

The assistant principal slots will be upgraded at these elementaries: Abingdon, Bakersfield, Bel Air, Deerfield, Edgewood, Fountain Green, Joppatowne, Magnolia, Meadowvale, North Bend, Ring Factory, Riverside and William S. James.

Mrs. Rehrmann vetoed the $250,000, she said, because some of the amendments violated the county charter while another amendment imperiled the expansion of the county's Detention Center. The $200,000 was enough to upgrade nine part-time assistant principals.

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