Pulliam unveils reorganization chart

By Greg Gelpi

A proposed reorganization of the Clayton County school system could realign the system to increase student achievement, while saving $1.2 million.

Superintendent Barbara Pulliam proposed shifting the system from "11 individual silos doing their own thing" to two distinct "houses."

The Clayton County Board of Education will consider approving the draft of the reorganization at a special called meeting. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Administrative Complex, 1058 Fifth Ave., Jonesboro.

The reorganization splits the school system into two branches, one focusing on the operation of the system and the other focusing on academics.

Through reassignments, retirements, personnel leaving the system and attrition, no one will lose a job, Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis said. Three positions at the assistant superintendent level are cut in the plan, while six positions are created.

Five of the six newly created positions would be funded through grant money, so the plan brings no additional financial burden to the system, Pulliam said. The sixth position, chief operating officer, would not be filled until funds are located to pay for the position.

The positions would be contingent on the availability of grant money.

The other new positions are executive director for research and evaluation, assistant superintendent for elementary schools, executive director for teaching and learning pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, director for leadership and team development and director for second language learning for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

"What I think we have is a chart for achieving the work we have to do of increasing student achievement," Pulliam said.

The newly created executive director for research and evaluation would interpret test data, interpret assessments and work with student testing.

With the number of senior administrators retiring and leaving the system, the director for leadership and team development would train leaders to assume senior level positions.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a grievance policy for classified employees.

Clayton County Education Association President Sid Chapman, who proposed a grievance policy in October, was pleased with the compromise version adopted by the board.

"We would have liked to have stronger policy," Chapman said. "I look at it as a victory for classified employees."

Classified employees include support personnel, such as secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria staff. They worked under no grievance policy until Monday's approval of a policy.

The new policy provides two levels for appeals, compared to the three levels afforded certified employees, such as teachers.

Chapman said he would have liked for classified employees to have been allowed representation during the appeals process, adding that a grievance policy is a "basic labor right."