Board Approves New Titles
Two of the new titles are not represented by unions, so the net loss of administrative positions appears to number at least 14, but the exact correlation of titles is not known. The 45 titles will be abolished effective June 30, but those affected may begin applying for the new titles today.
The title changes were developed “in conjunction with guidelines from the state,” Interim Superintendent Garnell Bailey said, and they are meant to achieve “more of a direct impact for student achievement and accountability.”
Those whose titles were abolished can seek “Donaldson hearings,” Bailey said. Asked whether the new titles would result in lower salaries, Bailey said that was a “work in progress.”
More than 150 people packed the Plainfield High School library after news of the job changes became public over the weekend. Plainfield Administrators and Supervisors Association President Shirley Johnson-Tucker said members were outraged at the job cuts. Even after a meeting Tuesday with Bailey that yielded some clarification, Johnson-Tucker said, the union felt some changes were for the best and some not for the best.
Johnson-Tucker said when members first saw the list, the impression was that the administrators “do not matter,” that they gave service “and without any consideration are being chopped away.” She said the union will give the information offered Monday to fight the action.
In other comments before the vote, longtime teacher Tiffany Corbett recalled a 1998 change where “supervisors were done away with,” and vice principals were put in charge of evaluating teachers.
“We at Plainfield High School will miss having supervisors to help us,” she said, adding vice principals can’t help because they are too busy.
The titles to be abolished include 19 supervisors and the new titles include five vice principals.
Parent Renata Hernandez asked whether there was a “job-mapping matrix” so people could understand the changes, and if so, requested a copy so she could share the information with Parents Empowering Parents.
In other comments, teachers who received non-renewal notices for the 2008-09 school year asked how it was decided which teachers would stay or go. Bailey said decisions on non-tenured teachers were based on “feedback from principals.” The audience applauded a teacher who said that process encouraged favoritism and was bad management.
Other speakers questioned whether incoming Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III had any input into the title changes and cuts. Gallon, an administrator in the Miami-Dade school district, was hired in February after a nationwide search. He will begin a four-year term in Plainfield July 1. But parent Laura Shoemaker also questioned Monday whether Gallon had the credentials or experience to be a superintendent. Gallon will be mentored by retired Westfield superintendent William Foley while becoming certified to be a superintendent in New Jersey.