State official: Cutting administrators a bad idea

Marcia Neal

Now is not the time to eliminate school administrators, State Board of Education member Marcia Neal wrote in a letter this week to District 51 School Board members.

As a member of the state board, Neal has been part of the implementation process of Senate Bill 191, known as the Educator Effectiveness Bill, since it became law two years ago.

The law will require all Colorado school districts to evaluate teachers and principals annually, using a variety of measures, including students’ test scores and observations by supervisors, starting in fall 2013.

The new law will require more work for principals and assistant principals, who currently evaluate tenured teachers once every three years.

Neal said she believes the District 51 School Board should leave school administrators out of the $2 million to $4 million the board plans to cut from the 2012–13 budget, so the new law can be implemented effectively.

“This could be the most important thing we’ve ever done,” she said. “I’m really excited about the fact the principals are going to be more involved education leaders and get to be focused on learning.”

A District 51 Budget Oversight Committee report made Tuesday to the District 51 School Board suggested $920,400 in cuts to school building administration along with $3.36 million to $3.65 million in other cuts and fee increases.

Neal said she would prefer the board opt for some of the other suggestions first, such as increased athletic fees, charges for busing or trimming some programs.

“If it comes to a choice of building administration and something else, I hope they go with something else” for cuts, she said.

The committee also suggested $290,000 to $580,000 in cuts to district administration directors, coordinators and managers.

Neal said the new law will affect some of those people, too. District 51 directors of high schools, middle schools and elementary schools will evaluate principals for effectiveness each year.

Neal said administrators will have more responsibilities creating and tracking results from tests because the new teacher and principal evaluations will incorporate growth and achievement data from Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests.

Also, they will require districts to create new tests for subjects and grades not covered by the assessment program.

“It has taken two years of careful and thorough work to be able to launch the system next fall,” Neal wrote in her letter.

“It is crucial that we begin the process or we will continue down the same road we have been following for the past 40 or so years.”


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