Tuesday, February 13, 2001

Schools clarify redesign policy

Board addresses hiring of principals

By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The selection process for choosing principals to lead Cincinnati Public Schools was clarified Monday, but the teachers union said the policy needs more work.

        The school board approved policies that outline the responsibility of the superintendent and a group of teachers and community members at each school in selecting a principal.

        Board member Florence Newell said the changes were made because the district wanted to ensure a pool of candidates who can help improve the district's worst-performing schools.

        The action comes a week after the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers threatened to withdraw support for the school district's plan to redesign failing schools if the current principal at Burton School was allowed to reap ply for his job.

        Rick Beck, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers president, said Monday the union will not pull out of the redesign process, but he will push the administration to put in writing a policy that says the current principal of a redesign school cannot be rehired.

        When schools are redesigned, all staff and teachers are released and must reapply for their jobs.

        "We feel that by having the same principal back again it tells the teachers that in fact they are to blame,” Mr. Beck said.

        Superintendent Steven Adamowski said all personnel who are released from a redesign are allowed to reapply for their jobs.

        Last week, the principal selection committee at Burton School recommended in an 11-3 vote that Mr. Adamowski rehire Phil Wylie, the current principal.

        Mr. Adamowski recommended Mr. Wylie be hired. The board unanimously ap proved the action Monday.

        The new policies give the superintendent final say in selecting principals.

        The policies also state:

        • The school must develop a vision and mission used to evaluate at least three principal candidates chosen by the superintendent.

        • The school ranks its preferences for the superintendent, who can choose a candidate other than the one selected by the council.

        • At redesign schools, all candidates must be experienced principals. If the school council cannot reach a unanimous decision, the superintendent appoints a principal.

        • The district will offer financial incentives for principals at redesign schools.

        Parents were happy Monday with the decision to rehire Mr. Wylie.

        “This whole ordeal is supposed to be about what's best for the children,” said Ruth Johnson Watts, guardian of a Burton School student.


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