Stamford schools’ central office shuffle moves forward

Photo of Erin Kayata

STAMFORD — A reorganization of more than 70 central office employees for Stamford Public Schools won’t cost the city in salaries or employees, according to Superintendent Earl Kim.

Rather, the reorganization, which has been in the works since the summer, involves shifting the responsibilities of some existing employees and granting a standard cost-of-living increase of 1.8 percent.

Kim explained the logistics behind the reorganization in light of the additions of two associate superintendents and a chief fiscal and operations support officer to Board of Representatives member John Zelinsky at an education committee meeting Monday night.

“The constraint we imposed on ourselves is we’d operate within same budget and headcount as central office currently operates,” Kim said. “We didn’t want it to have an impact on taxpayers, so we kept headcount the same.”

Salaries have also not been reduced unless someone’s new role puts them in a union.

Kim explained positions haven’t been cut, either. Rather, the district refrained from filling open positions during the reorganization process to create space for new roles. The district also found efficiencies through process mapping to repurpose money and positions as needed.

At a March 27 meeting, the Board of Education named Brian White, principal of Henry James Memorial School in Simsbury, and Olympia Della Flora, principal of Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio, as associate superintendent for teaching and learning and associate superintendent of school development and learning, respectively.

Clarence Zachery, chief operations officer for the Stratford Board of Education, was named Stamford Public Schools’ chief fiscal and operations support officer at a Jan. 23 BOE meeting.

Zachery will be making $214,500, including annuity and travel, and he will be fulfilling duties previously done by the district’s chief financial officer, Bill Dunn, who left the role in October.

The associate superintendents will make $186,500 including the same benefits.

Some roles will be changed to avoid redundancies. District information technology roles will now focus on integrating technology into the curriculum since city hall’s IT department handles most of troubleshooting functions.

Questioning from Zelinsky prompted the discussion of the reorganization process.

“I’m just wondering why all of a sudden he decided to do this,” Zelinsky said after the meeting. “I think the money could have been better spent on teachers and students rather than hiring outside consultants. It seems like a duplication and possibly a waste of time.”

Kim said he didn’t know how much was spent on the consultants, but promised to get Zelinsky the number.

He said the plan to reorganize central office staff came with the development of a new strategic plan for the district.

“In the process, we’d specify more clearly who was responsible and accountable for certain processes the district had to operate to realize the goals and objectives of the strategic plan,” Kim said. “There were people encouraging me (to do this) when I walked through door.”

Kim also said the district hired a consulting group to help with the reorganization, which is expected to be completed by June 30 in time for the July 1 evaluation cycle.

erin.kayata@stamfordadvocate.com; (203) 964-2265; @erin_kayata