Plan would boost Janesville high schools' administrative staff

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Frank Schultz
Sunday, January 5, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Janesville School District would add a dean at Craig and Parker high schools this month if the school board approves when it meets Tuesday.

Each high school lost an assistant principal as part of budget cuts after a loss of state funding in 2011. The deans of students would take on some but not all of the duties of an assistant principal, according to a memo the board will consider Tuesday.

The positions' combined cost would be $38,000 if two current teachers are chosen for the jobs. The money would pay $32,000 for two substitute teachers to take over the deans' former duties and $3,000 stipends to the deans, in addition to their regular pay.

The money would come from the $265,000 approved in this year's budget for new positions, the memo indicates.

The positions would be assessed at the end of the school year to determine whether they would continue next fall, the memo indicates.

Each high school now has one principal and two assistant principals.

The deans would handle student discipline, which would free up principals and assistant principals, who now are being kept from the vital role of improving academic achievement by daily discipline problems, the memo states.

The schools need the help even though enrollment has been stagnant or falling, according to the memo, written by Superintendent Karen Schulte.

Craig's enrollment increased from 1,633 to 1,644 over the past four years, while Parker's has dropped from 1,511 to 1,358.

Schulte argues that even though enrollment has fallen at Parker, the needs have increased. She notes that the proportion of low-income students has increased from 31 percent in 2008-09 to 49 percent today.

“The increase in poverty and the situations that arise because of it are often in need of intervention by administration,” Schulte wrote.

At Craig, low-income students make up 36 percent of enrollment this year.

“With one less administrator, the high schools have fewer people to supervise the halls, lunches, arrival, departure, and school events,” Schulte wrote. “Additionally, the principal has taken on more disciplinary work than was previously the case.”

The goal of adding the deans is to reduce disciplinary referrals and the truancy rate, the memo says.

“A dean of students at each high school will result in improved hallway behavior, classroom behavior and cafeteria behavior,” Schulte wrote. “A reduction in student incidents will transfer to increased time on task in the classroom and an increased staff, student, and parent satisfaction.”

The new deans should have “at least enough training as administrators so they are familiar with school law, state statutes and other requirements pertaining to students and parents,” according to the memo.

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