New Lafayette superintendent proposed sweeping changes to top-level administration of school system _lowres

Incoming Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Don Aguillard

New Lafayette Parish schools Superintendent Don Aguillard’s proposed reorganization plan eliminates seven existing top-level supervisory positions and creates three new ones as a way to downsize administration.

The seven positions proposed for elimination include: assistant superintendent, director of academics, three academic officer positions, director of health and wellness, and supervisor of mental health services.

Aguillard has recommended three new positions — a director of elementary schools, a director of middle and secondary schools, and a district planning administrator — who will be required to have a master’s degree in education and work on district projects related to curriculum and instruction, as well as transportation and school zones.

Aguillard’s proposed reorganization plan is on the board’s agenda as an introduction item for its Wednesday meeting and set for action at its following meeting on June 3. Aguillard’s first official day as superintendent was Monday, though he’s attended board meetings and coordinated with staff for the past few weeks.

The board already approved two new positions — chief academic officer and chief administrative officer — which replace the assistant superintendent position by dividing up the duties and adding other oversight responsibilities to the chief administrative officer’s position. Interim Superintendent Burnell LeJeune, who deferred further staffing recommendations to the new superintendent, proposed the new positions.

LeJeune also created an acting chief operations officer position that’s been filled by the current facilities and planning director, Kyle Bordelon. The chief operations officer position does not appear to be part of Aguillard’s plan, though he has proposed expanding the duties of the facilities and planning director to include oversight of school maintenance and maintenance employees.

Last week, human resources director Bruce Leininger said the employees impacted by the changes could apply for the newly created positions and that other school-based administrative jobs also were likely to become available due to expected retirements and resignations.

At least one employee impacted by the proposed reorganization plan submitted her resignation — Jody West, mental health services supervisor. West’s resignation is effective May 29, according to a list of personnel changes attached to the board meeting agenda.

Aguillard said last week that his reorganization plan could save the board about $300,000.

The new superintendent attached to the meeting agenda a letter he wrote to School Board members which briefly explains the proposed changes.

In the letter he wrote, “Financial efficacy will be realized by downsizing administrative personnel reporting directly to the Chief Administrative and Chief Academic Officers. Additional benefits can be anticipated by reducing the chain of command pathway and intense focus on administrative or academic functions.”

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.