Friday, February 09, 2001

Teacher union wants redesign rule clarified

At issue: Can Burton keep its principal?

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A group of parents, teachers and community members charged with recommending a principal for Burton School voted 11-3 to recommend that Principal Phil Wylie remain.

        The action came as Cincinnati's teachers union threatened to withdraw support for the school district's plan to redesign failing schools if Mr. Wylie is allowed to reapply for his job.

        At issue is the process of how principals are selected for schools undergoing redesign — and whether a school's principal can be considered for the post.

        Spencer Bolten, a parent member of the school committee, said he is concerned about why the union is making an issue of Burton School's principal selection.

        Rick Beck, union president, said his concern is with the process, not Mr. Wylie.

        “We are disappointed that the process is so confused,” Mr. Beck said.

        He said he will ask the school district to help clarify who is eligible to reapply for their jobs when a school is redesigned.

        Schools undergo redesign after three years of poor performance, at which point a school gets new teachers, a new principal and a new educational plan.

        Superintendent Steven Adamowski said all staff members at redesigned schools are always allowed to reapply for their jobs.

        Mr. Beck said the plan assumes the teachers will be interviewed by a new principal, who will judge them on their training and qualifications, not past relationships.

        Once a school committee recommends a principal, that recommendation is sent to the superintendent, who is ultimately responsible for choosing a principal, said Jan Leslie, district spokeswoman.

        The district prefers a school committee offer a unanimous choice to the superintendent. The superintendent then recommends a principal candidate to the school board for approval.


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