They won’t carry badges, but two top honchos at the Bozeman School District should now be addressed as “deputies.”
Steve Johnson and Marilyn King, formerly known as assistant superintendents, have been given the new title of deputy superintendent as part of an overall reorganization of the Bozeman School District administration.
The changes are intended to make a better, more efficient structure and to cope with a growing workload, a growing number of students and staff, and the killer schedules of 50 to 60 hours a week that school administrators have been keeping.
The changes include adding 1.5 new jobs, at a cost of about $140,000.
One new full-time business services manager will work under Johnson and learn the byzantine rules of school budgets and business practices. The half-time curriculum director’s job will be made a full-time job to assist King.
In the last eight years, the numbers of students and staff have grown by about 15 percent, while the ranks of central-office administrators have decreased in the last five years, Superintendent Kirk Miller told School Board trustees Monday night. The board approved the reorganization by a 6-0 vote.
Miller said having another person knowledgeable about school finance will be critical to the district’s success in the future, when someone must someday succeed Johnson. He has been in charge of the schools’ budgets, business practices and elections for about 20 years.
“I’m very excited to support this,” Trustee Denise Hayman said of the reorganization. As School Board chair for two years, she said she has seen administrators working late hours and weekends. Hayman said she “deeply appreciates” their dedication, but “I’m concerned about the personal cost to the staff.”
“Both Marilyn and Steve are the best in the state at what they do, and if they get hit by a bus, what would we do?” asked Trustee Heide Arneson.
The changes should free up the new superintendent, Rob Watson, to spend more time focusing on the community, the School Board and school leadership. He will have to spend less time supervising and evaluating the job performance of 10 principals, who will now report directly to King. Human resources will become Johnson’s responsibility.
The new director of business services will also serve as district clerk, and will be in charge of accounting, payroll and busing.
Johnson will be in charge of human resources, facilities, adult and community education, computer information systems and support services, including food services.
The full-time curriculum director will help the schools adopt the new Common Core standards and state accreditation standards, and will supervise teaching coaches.
King will be in charge of the people who direct curriculum, special education, fine arts, gifted education, student assistance and the school nurse, family-school coordinator, principals and assistant principals.
School Board Chair Bruce Grubbs said the top administrators work “unbelievable” hours.
“They never complain and they get right at it,” Grubbs said. “We see the stress and wear and tear it puts on them.”
In a related change, Johnson’s work-year will be decreased from a full-time 260 days to 240 days.
“It will get us out of being 24/7 employees, get us a little relief,” Johnson said. “We’re not complaining,” he said, when asked how many hours they typically work in a week.
Johnson said he doesn’t remember the last time he only worked 50 hours, and they can work 75 hours and six days a week in busy times.
“It’s craziness,” he said. “If we’re not doing a good job supporting the district, it trickles down to the schools, principals and classrooms.”
Gail Schontzler can be reached at email@example.com or 582-2633.