SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County School District 3 school board decided last week not to hire a principal for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year. The board did say the decision would be revisited after additional recalibration discussions.
Superintendent Charles Auzqui said the decision reflects on the district’s vision of maintaining focus on instruction in the classroom and keeping teachers in front of kids.
Duties will be reallocated a few different ways, including bringing in a teacher as dean of students to complete student discipline duties. That teacher will be funded for three-quarters of a full-time position. Johnson County will also play a large role in completing necessary administrative duties and providing ongoing education for teachers. Other duties have been reassigned according to availability of staff in the district, Auzqui said.
“We’ve taken a concept to look as a semi-teacher-led school district and similar to a lot of other school districts around the nation that have one administrator in a small school setting like ours.”
Auzqui reemphasized the district’s dedication to keeping teachers in front of students without the burden of administrative duties.
“We want the community to know that our focus is we want to keep teachers in front of the kids with our funding cut, but more importantly some of the legalities we have in meeting that time frame, because those responsibilities don’t go away,” Auzqui said.
Looking ahead to possible budget cuts in the future, Auzqui said the reallocation of principal duties keeps the district from filling a position that may later be eliminated due to budget cuts.
“It’s kind of us being in control of the situation until we know where recalibration lies,” Auzqui said. “We’ll bring it back to the plate as a board this spring and see where we’re at with funding… and give us an opportunity to see if it was effective or not or if too many people had too many responsibilities.”
At least for now, though, SCSD3 will charge through the school year without a principal.
“There are a lot of districts that do this,” Auzqui said. “It’s not a consolidation, it’s just a matter of thinking outside the box and trying to take a positive outlook that doesn’t impact students.”