May 022014

The Groton-Dunstable Reginal School Committee approved a reorganization of the School District’s central office at its meeting last Wednesday that should save the district $69,000 a year. The Director of Human Resources position currently held by Jeanne Mitchell will be eliminated, and responsibility for personnel duties will be parceled out to other staff and outside consultants.

The reorganization plan came at the suggestion of Superintendent Tony Bent and incoming Superintendent Kristan Rodriguez in response to a School Committee request that the administration look for a way to cut Central Office costs. The imminent departure of Assistant Superintendent Kerry Clery presented an opportunity to rewrite that job description to include some of the personnel responsibilities, and the increasing complexity of contract negotiations pointed to a need for more outside consulting on those matters.

School Committee Chair Alison Manugian elaborated via email that “Some of the human resources work will shift to the Business Manager and staff, which makes sense logistically. Some of the work will shift to the Assistant Superintendent, which also makes sense given the close links between Curriculum & Professional Development, and staff hiring and retainage. We anticipate contracting for a couple of days a week with a Human Resources specialist to come in and handle the remaining tasks. Even with salary adjustments and hiring to cover the tasks we anticipate savings of about $69K per year.”

Both Manugian and Bent said that eliminating the Human Resources Director job was particularly painful because Mitchell has served capably in that position for over ten years. Manugian said, “she has tremendous institutional knowledge, which we value highly.”

Incoming superintendent Rodriguez said she hopes that some of the staff cuts made in the last half of this fiscal year can be restored when the district’s budget crisis smooths out.