"I think that their efforts to bring about change, if indeed that change is to get rid of me, would impact negatively on the mayor's ability to work well with the schools. My feeling is that we do have a structure that works. It is demonstrating that it works by the numbers," he said, referring to the upward creep of city scores on the state's annual tests. "And what we need to do now is to invest more strongly in it."
He acknowledges that there are management improvements to be made. It is the attack on local authority that makes the motives suspect for him.
"Let's stop playing these games around governance and management: Let's do something that we all agree needs to be done, which is put an appropriate funding formula in place that we know can make a difference if it is used appropriately," he said. "Then the next step is lock in what programs exist we can build on, what's been working and what do we want to discard. Then we can argue all day about who ought to do it."
There is also a toll on the school system during the battle. Amprey must steer the school system with lawyers in the way and uncertainty clouding his future.
"How do I address the management problems without appearing to totally acquiesce to someone who is saying we've got problems?" Amprey said, frustration evident. Also, he has lost several top-level managers during this stressful and uncertain season, and is having trouble attracting replacements, he said.
"There's always a question about 'How long are you going to be there, and if you aren't going to be there, what does that mean for me?' "
He is determined not to let the strain destroy the momentum or team spirit that still drives those closest to him in the administration, he said.
"You know the nature of the job carries with it so much stress: I would be dishonest if I did not say it was anxiety producing," he said. "What I want to make sure our parents and students and employees know is we've done well working together, and we will continue to do that. Nothing will stop. We are undaunted."
Pub Date: 8/02/96