Incoming East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Warren Drake is asking the School Board on Thursday to approve a Central Office reorganization that would trim about $1 million from the school system payroll.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Drake said Tuesday. “We’re going to finalize it probably tomorrow.”
The reorganization would substantially change the setup Drake inherited from outgoing Superintendent Bernard Taylor, eliminating a number of positions Taylor created during his three years leading the second-largest school district in the state.
Taylor’s contract does not expire until June 30, but he has opted to take leave for June, allowing Drake to take over as acting superintendent June 1. Drake’s own three-year contract starts July 1.
Drake has quickly made use of his new authority. Last week, he named 19 school principals, in five cases replacing people already in those jobs.
On Monday, Drake released a new organizational chart that would eliminate 34 positions and would create nine positions. The changes would take effect June 30.
The biggest area of savings, almost $600,000, would come from dropping 18 spots for youth advocates, a Taylor-created position designed to head off potential discipline problems at certain schools. The School Board in August 2013 rejected Taylor’s push to expand the program across the district.
As part of his reorganization, Drake is putting almost everything under a deputy superintendent.
In the process, he would eliminate the current position of deputy superintendent of innovation and reform, a job held now by Michael Haggen, as well as three other associate superintendent jobs, all created by Taylor.
Two of those three associate superintendents, Herman Brister Sr. and Carlos Sam, have recently taken jobs as school superintendents in Baker and in East Feliciana Parish, respectively.
Drake also hired at least one new top administrator, Michelle Clayton, a former top lieutenant from the top-ranked Zachary school district, placing her in Brister’s old job Monday. Drake has said Clayton will shift to a new position once the new organizational chart is complete.
Four people would report to the deputy superintendent. The first among equals is an assistant superintendent of academics, who has 17 listed areas of responsibility. That compares to just a handful of responsibility areas each for the other three administrators who would report to the deputy superintendent.
Drake said current executive directors overseeing elementary, middle and high schools would report to the new assistant superintendent of academics.
Drake said he may still make changes to two new positions he proposed Monday, including a new director of high schools and a supervisor for the state’s new Jump Start program.
The proposed position of chief of communications and public relations is a merger of about four positions, Drake said. They include the positions now held by Keith Bromery, current communications director, and Marvin Trotter, who oversaw parental and community engagement. Trotter worked with Taylor at his previous job in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trotter and Haggen were Taylor’s first two hires when he arrived in Baton Rouge in June 2012.
Drake on Monday also announced more personnel changes.
He has reappointed 25 assistant principals for the 2015-16 school year, as well as naming four new assistant principals. One is former Buchanan Elementary Principal Vachella Jones, who is becoming an assistant principal at Dufrocq elementary school.
Follow Charles Lussier on Twitter, @Charles_Lussier.