The Woonsocket Budget Commission voted to allow the School Department to advertise a deputy superintendent position today, a day after the School Committee voted against staffing the position.
This afternoon only Commission members Chairman Bill Sequino, Mayor Leo Fontaine, and Council President John Ward were present, but there were enough members for a quorum. All three voted to approve advertising for the post, along with several others requested by Carolyn Dias, RIDE's chief of fiscal integrity and efficiencies.
Dias told the Budget Commission the school department needed the position to handle curriculum, bringing the district in line with the Common Core Curriculum standards RIDE has set a 2014 deadline to meet. "We need it. It's a priority," Dias said.
"A district this size not having someone coordinating the curriculum across these schools," Dias said, would put the district behind in a country-wide move to adopt common core standards for education.
The position was among 29 Dias asked the Commission to allow the school department to begin recruiting for because some are hard to recruit and some are needed to open school now. "It is getting late. We are moving into August and school will be here before we know it," Dias said.
The Commission voted to approve advertising and recruiting for the positions, with the condition that the deputy superintendent position be re-named as curriculum director and a new job description be written for it.
Last night, the School Committee voted four to one against staffing the position, with Vimala Phongsavanh voting in favor of it, said Committee member Anita McGuire-Forcier.
McGuire-Forcier said Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan has already created a STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Math) Coordinator to handle curriculum. She questioned why the School Department needed two people working on curriculum.
When asked about her change of heart on the curriculum coordinator's position, "I think a lot of it has to do with perception," Donoyan said. She did not answer when asked again why she had told the School Committee it shouldn't be staffed and then told the Budget Commission it should.
Also during Wednesday night's School Committee meeting, the School Committee voted to reorganize, naming Phonsavah School Committee Chair and Eleanor Nadeau, who has served on the School Department's finance sub-committee, as Vice Chair, McGuire Forcier said. McGuire-Forcier, the former chair, and Chris Roberts were the sole dissenting votes to the change.
McGuire Forcier, who has spoken against the move at School Committee meetings and in a letter to the editor, said she wasn't upset with the vote. "I've been the best chair they've had. I've worked my butt off," McGuire-Forcier said. She said the change won't affect how she serves on the Committee.