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Albion school district to hire administrator to focus on academics, despite questions about cost


By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Albion Public Schools is hiring an administrator to focus on academic performance, but some question the idea just months after the district laid off nine teachers.

The board last week created the position of director of achievement and accountability by a 4-2 vote. The person will oversee the district’s curriculum and make $75,000 to $85,000 a year.

The high school has failed to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress guidelines. Superintendent Frederick Clarke said the district must find a highly qualified individual to provide leadership and training that leads to more cohesive teaching plans and academic improvement.

Clarke also has worked without an assistant superintendent since he was hired three years ago. He has shared curriculum development with several other district employees.

“Trust me, as your superintendent, we need this position and have since I was hired,” he said. “We need one focused energy on curriculum … and someone who is an expert could help us immediately.”

Board member Shawnette Spicer voted against the position, saying she didn’t believe one person could make the changes the district needs.

“Why would we add a position when we don’t know what the future holds?” she said. “Why not wait until September or something to see where we’re at?”

Board member John Helmbreck also voted against it, saying the district can’t afford the public perception that could come from creating “an administrative position when people are talking about teachers (the district) laid off.”

The district also is facing a $1.48 million dollar deficit for the coming school year

Clarke said he understands the concern, but that the district will use funding comes from the state and federal levels that cannot be used for basic classroom instruction. He agreed to hire the director on a one-year contract and re-evaluate the position next year.

With less controversy, the school district has posted jobs for three outreach workers for at-risk students and their families. The board approved those with a 6-0 vote.

The new employees will make home visits and keep in contact with families. The positions are for the school year only and will pay $25,000 to $30,000 apiece.

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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