School Business Office Restructure

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School Business Office Restructure

Postby swamper on Sun Sep 04, 2011 11:13 pm

From today's Lowell Sun:

http://www.lowellsun.com/local/ci_18820219

Tewksbury shuffles roles in school business office
By Joyce Tsai, jtsai@lowellsun.com
Updated: 09/03/2011 06:35:58 AM EDT


TEWKSBURY -- With a number of changes in key personnel and leadership, school officials have decided to restructure their central business offices.

The reorganization reflects the district's desire to bring to its office efficiencies used in the private sector. It has hired Jeffrey Sands, a former senior finance and operations director with more than 14 years working at Pricewaterhouse-Coopers.

The timing is right for re-examining the office's business and operational structure, said Sands, citing the retirements of Business Manager Jack Quinn and administrative assistant Anne Duncan, who played key roles in the organization.

Under the reorganization, David Libby, formerly the district's transportation coordinator, will serve as the district's finance and operations manager, reporting to Sands. Libby will continue to coordinate the schools' transportation and facilities, but will also direct and supervise three restructured staff positions: a human-resources administrator, Michele Rivera; an accounts-payable and payroll administrator, Lisa Marget; and an administrator dedicated to student data, grants, revolving accounts and the financial aspects of special education, Sarah Robson.

Rivera is a new hire, while Marget worked as an accounts-payable analyst and Robson worked as a data-processing secretary in the district.

Also, two clerical positions will be created to support the administrator positions.

Trisha Kearns, who was a secretary
in the special-education department, will be moved to one clerical position for accounts payable, while the other position remains unfilled until the business office determines if it's needed. The business-office overhaul can be done with minimal financial impact, and an increase of just one body, can cost the district an additional $5,000 to $8,000 a year.

Some positions will remain intact. Keith Young will continue as information-technology manager, Jon Marchand as maintenance foreman, Deb Mugford as food-service manager, and Patricia Meuse will continue to work with Sands on bid and contract work and other projects.

"If you reorganize and do things differently, you can kind of get more juice out of the lemon," Sands said.

Duncan was the "go-to person" for many years for duties such as accounts payable, human resources, grants and revolving accounts, which include food services, adult education, extended day and athletic programs. She wore so many hats that the office was not set up for each staffer to be dedicated to a main task.

"So we never had one administrator who was dedicated to the human-resources aspects of this big business," Sands said.

With 500 employees, it make sense to have one, and separate out other responsibilities while cross-training all employees, he said.

Superintendent of Schools John O'Connor said the district also restructured its student services and special-education departments. Rick Pelletier was hired for a newly created position, director of student services. About 95 percent of his job is to head up the special-education program, and he will also oversee guidance, nursing and English as a Second Language staff, O'Connor said.

"We think the changes will provide a service model with clear lines of communication," O'Connor said, "and a better understanding of the management of special education, so parents will have a better understanding of where to go if they have questions."

Libby said he will also be tasked with mastering X2 software, which the district has owned for some time but hasn't fully utilized. He said this should help the district do a better job of tracking students' academic performance data, to help parents, teachers and administrators analyze how best to improve education.
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