JCPS is weighing a major restructuring of its leadership ranks, including the shuffling of responsibilities of 12 executive administrators and assistant superintendents, the elimination of 11 positions and the creation of 10 new ones, including a chief of staff and a chief of schools.

Marty Pollio

District officials said Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio is proposing the changes based on preliminary results from an organizational review of JCPS and its central office by the Council of the Great City Schools. Pollio had requested the review to improve the district’s operations by implementing additional best practices.

The changes would lower the district’s operating cost by about $14,000, or about 1/100th of 1 percent of its $1.2 billion General Fund budget, but JCPS officials emphasized that the changes are being proposed primarily to improve the district’s efficiency and effectiveness.

“The goal of this reorganization is to have a system and structure at JCPS that functions … optimally for students and schools,” JCPS spokeswoman Allison Martin told Insider.

The Jefferson County Board of Education will discuss the proposal in Tuesday night’s meeting.

Among the proposed changes, the district would hire a chief of staff, chief of schools, a general counsel — to replace contracted legal services — and a chief of human resources, all of whom would earn about $143,000. Other jobs to be added would cost as little as about $30,000.

In return, the district also would eliminate 11 vacant positions, including a director of literacy, an ombudsman, a community liaison and an associate graphic designer. Three of the positions to be eliminated come with a salary of more than $100,000. Others that are eliminated pay as little as about $15,000.

In addition, JCPS would restructure the oversight areas of six assistant superintendents, so that each would focus on only one level of instruction — elementary, middle or high — and one on culture and climate. The district also wants to turn six evaluation and transition coordinators into executive administrators to provide support including evaluation of principals.

Allison Martin

Martin told Insider that the proposals reflect the importance that Pollio from early in his tenure has placed on organizational coherence, she said.

While the hiring process for some of the new positions could begin as early as this month, the reorganization would take full effect in the next school year.

Board member Chris Brady said that he believes the changes would benefit the district.

A chief of schools and a chief of staff, for example, would allow Pollio and Chief Academic Officer Carmen Coleman to focus more on the main priorities of their positions, Brady said.

Some of the other proposed changes would allow for a better point of contact for parental concerns and more effective administration of schools, he said.

Chris Brady

Brady also said that while the district’s contracted legal counsel has been good, not having an in-house counsel has hampered the district’s ability to streamline the process by which administrators and staffers make inquiries about legal matters.

The changes are being proposed at a time that the district is under intense scrutiny. The Kentucky Department of Education is expected to soon release findings of an extensive management review. The district for years also has faced criticism for its allegedly bloated bureaucracy and for how many people earn salaries exceeding $100,000, most recently from Gov. Matt Bevin and the Steering Committee for Action on Louisville’s Agenda (SCALA).

Brady said that the changes the board will discuss Tuesday will put more people in schools, save money, streamline the district’s operations and adopt additional best practices.

Brady also said that some of the changes probably could have been implemented sooner if not for the pending KDE management audit, on which, he emphasized, the district has been waiting for more than a year.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Stewart Auditorium at the VanHoose Education Center.

CORRECTION: This story was updated to remove from the additions an already existing position.

Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.