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Sun., Mar. 29
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Ogdensburg school administration reshuffles as assistant superintendent retires

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At the end of this school year, Assistant Superintendent David J. Valois will retire, and the district is not going to hire a replacement.

Mr. Valois’s retirement has enabled the school to save an estimated $137,000 in next year’s budget, according to Superintendent Timothy M. Vernsey.

Of that, $119,119 is Mr. Valois’s salary. Mr. Vernsey declined to specify where the remaining $17,881 in savings will come from, saying only that it will result from the realignment of administrative duties.

Mr. Vernsey said the district is looking at “administrative reorganization” as a way to save money in an era of limited state education funding.

“We’re definitely looking at moving some people around,” Mr. Vernsey said.

He said the district is not considering laying off any members of the administration.

“Just reorganizing and shifting responsibilities,” he said.

At this stage, the plans have not been finalized and details are unavailable.

Mr. Vernsey said he expects to have a finalized plan ready to release to the public no later than May 1.

But Board of Education President Frederick P. Bean said the plan is to make the administration “more efficient.”

“We won’t have an assistant superintendent anymore,” Mr. Bean said. “That’s gone. The question of how you restructure that and how you break up those duties is up in the air.”

The assistant superintendent is responsible for overseeing the special education program, helping Mr. Vernsey discipline students and filling in whenever Mr. Vernsey is away.

Mr. Bean said the district is considering how to dole out the duties of the assistant superintendent to other administrators.

“What we’re concerned about is the savings being there and the job getting done effectively and efficiently,” Mr. Bean said.

To accomplish that, Mr. Bean said another position will likely be eliminated, although the person will be retained in another capacity.

He would not disclose what position is being considered, although it is in the administration.

“Some titles are going to change,” Mr. Bean said. “It’s a matter of who’s going to do what and who’s going to be where. There have been about half a dozen different versions [of the reorganization plan]. The main part is finding someone to run special education.”

So far, Mr. Bean said, some administrators may have to work more hours during the summer to pick up some of Mr. Valois’s duties.

While any additional work will include a corresponding pay increase for those administrators, a savings will still be maintained, Mr. Bean said. He said the savings from cutting the assistant superintendent position in addition to the roughly $150,000 saved by closing Sherman Elementary School a year early will go a long way to saving the quality of education in the district.

“We’re looking at every possible avenue to save jobs, keep programs and cut costs,” Mr. Bean said.

“We’ve scaled way back, we’ve cut, we’ve become far more efficient,” Mr. Bean said.

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