More in-school staff, fewer central jobs

Board cuts 28 office posts, adds math, reading coaches

May 30, 2002|By Erika Niedowski | Erika Niedowski,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore school board approved this week a plan to cut more than two dozen central office positions and hire hundreds of new school-based "academic coaches."

The number of full-time employees in the office of the chief academic officer, Cassandra W. Jones, will be reduced from 204 to 176. Employees whose positions are being eliminated are being asked to reapply for other school system jobs. Jones said she does not know how many will do so.

Under the plan approved Tuesday night, the school system will hire 346 coaches in reading and math - two for every school. The coaches will not teach, but rather provide support to principals and teachers.

Jones has said that the central office is "too top heavy."

"The emphasis now is closer to the schools," she said yesterday.

Many schools have reading coaches but all schools will now have coaches in reading and math. The positions will be funded by the central office, Jones said.

Some administrators and employees who write curricula and train new teachers criticized the proposed reorganization, saying it would hurt teaching.

Board Chairwoman Patricia L. Welch conceded Tuesday that there were some "apprehensions" and "cautions" among board members about the plan, but that she supported moving forward with it.

The board vote was 7-0, with members C. William Struever, the vice chairman, and Sam Stringfield abstaining.

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