District shuffles staff in budget-cutting move

Big changes coming to elementary schools, high school, Central Services

By HANNAH JOHNSON – Stillwater Gazette

In a plan to cut $350,000 from its Central Services staffing budget, the Stillwater Area Public Schools district will change several positions in the elementary schools, Stillwater Area High School and Central Services office.

The district unveiled a two-year plan this morning that shifts elementary principals, adds district responsibilities to certain positions, eliminates positions and hires new positions. The changes will initially be cost-neutral but are part of a larger plan to cut $350,000 from Central Services’ staffing budget. Some of these changes were discussed during the budget adjustment process. The district will begin implementing the changes in the 2012-2013 school year.

As part of the budget adjustments, some principals at the elementary level and high school level will take on district responsibilities in addition to their current duties.

At the elementary level, Andersen Elementary, Lily Lake Elementary and Oak Park Elementary schools will now have new principals for 2012-2013. The district will move Malinda Lansfeldt, the current Lily Lake principal to the same job at Andersen Elementary. At Andersen, she will take on district responsibilities, including implementing the K-6 STEM program, developing a K-12 framework for 21st century learning skills and considering other school options.

"Although I will truly miss working with everyone at Lily Lake, it is an honor and pleasure to be joining Andersen Elementary," Lansfeldt said. "I look forward to working closely with students, staff and families to continue the school’s strong traditions and I’m excited about the opportunities to grow professionally as well."

Mark Drommerhausen, the current Andersen principal, will move to the principal job at Lily Lake.

"I began my education as a student at Lily Lake and now I will have the opportunity to come full circle as the principal," said Drommerhausen. "I am excited to join this great school and community."

At Oak Park Elementary, Ginny Kruse, interim director of curriculum and instruction, will be re-assigned as principal at Oak Park for 2012-2013. This change is due to the resignation of current Principal Dawn Wiegand. The director of curriculum and instruction poison will also be eliminated.

Changes aren’t just happening at the elementary level. Several Central Services positions have been eliminated or reformed as part of the budget adjustments process. Changes include,

Eliminating the Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning position for 2012-2013. Chris Lennox, who currently fills this role, will instead serve as the executive director of instruction, professional development and secondary curriculum

The director of the Alternative Learning Center (ALC) will take on district responsibilities, including alternative programming needs like targeted services, credit recovery and online alternative curriculum.

Some elementary and secondary leadership roles related to learning, curriculum and professional development will be filled temporarily during the 2012-2013 school year with more permanent changes coming in 2013-2014.

The district will hire two new positions: executive director for elementary curriculum, innovation and leadership and coordinator of learning supports.

Instead of filing the open coordinator of instruction and professional development position for 2012-2013, the district will hire a temporary dean of students for SAHS to help as the district transitions to its new secondary model and programs, allowing SAHS Principal Ryan Laager to do program work at the secondary level.

While many changes came from budget adjustments discussions, said Superintendent Corey Lunn, these changes would also bring a better focus to elementary education. The district will be given more attention on the elementary schools, in part by eliminating the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning position and replacing it with some positions focused on the elementary level.

"We’ve made some changes to save money and some to better serve our schools and families," Lunn said. "I’m excited by the opportunities this brings to elementary schools."

Though the plan was released Friday morning, the board mentioned changes coming in the district at its board meeting Thursday night. Action taken at the board meeting include,

Approving the 2011-2012 final revised budget. The final revised budget reflects changes made since the revised 2011-2012 budget released in January. The final revised budget’s total general fund revenue increased by $1.5 million based on new information regarding special education revenue and the total general fund expenditures decreased by $1.8 million in part from budget adjustments, staff retiring, the hiring freeze, tuition costs and other reductions.

Approving the food service milk and dairy distributor and bread distributor for 2012-2013.