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District 46 discuss vacancy left by departing assistant principal

Published: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

PRAIRIE GROVE – Despite dropping enrollment, Prairie Grove District 46’s superintendent will recommend the district keep the assistant principal position.

The possibility had been raised by board member Laura Barker, who joined the board after the April election, and the board plans on discussing the option at its meeting Tuesday evening.

Assistant Principal Beth Klinsky is one of three administrators who will be leaving the district at the end of June. Business manager Andrew Searle and Sandy Ozimek, the curriculum, assessment and learning coordinator, also will be leaving.

The board will discuss conducting exit interviews with the administrators as well as possibly voting on a new committee system. The switch would take the board from a committee of a whole system, where all the board members serve on the committee, to having topic-specific committees that nonboard members can sit on.

The assistant principal discussion is the board doing its due diligence, especially in light of dropping enrollment, Barker said, and that doesn’t mean it will ultimately decide to eliminate the position.

The elementary school and junior high share a principal and an assistant principal, said Superintendent Lynette Zimmer, who called the assistant principal position “a critical role.”

“If we eliminated the position, we would be less responsive to students, parents and staff,” she said. “They help with student discipline and teachers meetings. They’re very involved. They’re very hands-on. It’s a very visible position.”

The principal and assistant principal meet with parents, students and teachers, according to an eight-page list of duties prepared for the board. They also coordinate with other personnel, including bus drivers and custodial staff.

The assistant principal operates the schools’ homework clubs, organizes the spelling and geography bees, serves as the homeless student liaison and reports truancies to the regional office of education, the report said.

As assistant principal, Klinsky earned $78,898 last year, according to district documents.

The district has a balanced budget, though, Zimmer said, and is looking to save $40,000 from the two other administrative replacements.

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