Montrose Area adds admin position

An additional administrator will be joining the staff in the Montrose Area School District.
At the Monday, June 12, school board meeting the position of Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment was created, effective July 1. But no starting salary was set for the admin position.
Board members said they had discussed adding the position at length at the curriculum committee meeting held on June 5.
Superintendent Carol Boyce said the administrator’s focus would be the plan, delivery and assessment of the curriculum.
With the addition, Boyce said, “Curriculum becomes a living process and not a dusty notebook on the shelf.”
The Director of Curriculum would be working in collaboration with all the administrators and be an equal position on the educational administrative team.
Although the position, along with duties and qualifications, has not yet been posted on the district website, board members said it is preferred that candidates have three years of administrative experience, and have familiarity with both the elementary and secondary levels, to articulate the curriculum across classrooms and grad levels.
Montrose Education Association’s Teri Evans asked if a minimum salary had been determined.
Boyce said the salary was still under discussion.
And, with her own comments and not necessarily those of the MEA, Evans said the district’s comprehensive plan mentions curriculum teams but does not include the addition of a curriculum administrator. She asked the board what the “goal” of the position is, and how will they measure its success. She also questioned whether the duties of the position could be accomplished utilizing current staff.
Boyce said the admin would not be writing curriculum, but would work with the professional learning communities and help focus those efforts. She said the administration and board recognized the need for the position and that it was not something they needed to take to the teachers for approval or disapproval.
School director Paul Adams said the board compared highly successful schools and found the common denominator was that they all had a curriculum director. He encouraged Evans to reach out to the administration for the data. He mentioned those successful districts also had a later start time for elementary students.
“We need the best person possible to bring all this together,” Adams said.
Fellow school director Madeline Arnold agreed, “In house would be great but we need the best for education. Teaching is what we do.”
One audience member said that if a later start time is also a factor in student success, the board should also be looking at that option.
Property tax increase
The board set real estate property tax rates at 48.8162 mills, up over 1.5 mills from 2016.
The Homestead/Farmstead exclusion was set at $7,440, for a tax dollar value of $363.19.
The final expense budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year was approved at $26,760,895; and the board authorized the utilization of $243,730 of the district’s committed fund balance for increased pension costs; $200,000 in the assigned fund balance from gas lease royalties to address curriculum costs; and $131,216 of the unassigned fund balance to meet the increased costs in the budget.
Map change
The board approved a map change along Rt. 29, north of Montrose.
Students living on the east side of the roadway will attend Lathrop Street Elementary, while those on the west side will attend Choconut Valley Elementary.
Transportation director Wanda Harris said the change actually just cleans up on paper what is already taking place with students. A small area on the east side of the roadway was, according to the official school map, called for students to attend Choconut Valley. They, however, have been attending Lathrop Street.
Girls basketball coach
In a 4-3 vote, the board appointed Todd Smith as the head girls basketball coach, effective immediately, at a salary of $4,659.
Board members Mary Homan, Gloria Smith and Karl Wimmer voted “no,” to hiring Smith; with Doug Wilcox, Amy Lyden, Paul Adams, and Madeline Arnold voting if favor of the hire. School directors Richard Jordan and Jennifer Strickland were not present at the meeting.
Other coaches appointed included: Michael Fowler as the head boys varsity soccer coach; and Steven MacNamee as an assistant football coach.
The Montrose Area School Board will not hold a meeting on July 11. The next business and workshop meeting will be held on Monday, Aug. 14, 7 p.m., at Choconut Valley Elementary.

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