Lisbon schools shuffle administrative positions

LISBON – The Lisbon school board voted Tuesday to restructure some of its administrative positions to better deal with the increasing demands being imposed on districts by the state.

Longtime McKinley Elementary School Principal Helen Otto was named to the new position of director of curriculum and special programs, with assistant junior-senior high school principal Dan Kemats replacing her at McKinley. As part of the plan, Kemats’ assistant principal job will be eliminated, with all of the changes effective Aug. 1.

The key component of the restructuring was creation of the curriculum and special programs director position, which the board and Superintendent Don Thompson emphasized is needed to meet the ever-changing mandates coming from the state education department, especially in the area of academic standards and teacher evaluations.

“We could have stayed with the same situation, but circumstances dictated we go in a different direction,” Thompson said, adding it is becoming increasingly more difficult and time-consuming to keep pace with the steady flow of complicated changes coming from Columbus.

The move results in more responsibilities for junior/senior high school Principal Joe Siefke, who will be without an assistant principal. Thompson is confident Siefke, as well as Otto and Kemats, are up to the challenge, describing them as “three extremely capable administrators.”

“You’ve heard the term doing more with less. Well, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Thompson said.

The board eliminated the assistant principal’s position so there would there would be no net increase in spending as part of the restructuring, other than pay raises the administrators were due to receive anyway.

“The board would like to note that there is no additional costs to the district, as the salaries were set to the level each administrator would have received in their current position,” said board President Jim Smith. “It also allows for future reductions in administrative areas in addition to those areas already doing more with less.”

Two part-time employees currently share the curriculum director/special programs duties, and they will assist Otto, Kemats and Siefke with the transition. Their positions will eventually be phased out over the next several years, resulting in a savings to the district, Thompson said.

As part of the plan, the board abolished the pay schedule for administrators. Thompson said the schedule awarded administrators automatic pay raises of 1 percent to 1.5 percent when they reached certain years of employment, or steps, as administrators. In the future, pay raises received by Siefke, Otto and Kemats will be based on their performance.

As mentioned above, the three will still receive the same automatic pay raise this year they would have received under pay schedule that was eliminated, but there will no automatic increases after this. The following will be their new salaries after the raise: Siefke, $88,596; Otto, $81,635; and Kemats, $75,307.