Baker Kurrus, who’ll end his tenure as Little Rock school superintendent July 1, is no lame duck.
Among the work underway is the hard business of cutting expenses in advance of the coming loss of court-provided desegregation money, along with possible loss of per-student revenue as charter schools approved for expansion by the state drain off more students.
I’ve received multiple reports of notices beginning last week of non-renewal of contracts in the district administrative ranks for next year, including math and reading specialists, special education supervisors and a number of other individual middle management jobs, including some very familiar names of long-term employees.
I’m seeking specifics from the district.
But, meanwhile, complaints are already being heard about some of the cuts — particularly in special ed and about those who provide services to classroom teachers.
On the other hand, praise is also coming for reports of the end of the tenure of some administrators viewed as having feathered personal nests without contributing much to the educational effort.
I understand I’m hearing from some people with axes to grind.
From afar, it’s impossible to weigh all the individual pros and cons. That’s, in theory, what you expect a good administrator to do.
This reminds me that Michael Poore, who’s coming from Bentonville, indicated at least obliquely to Benji Hardy and me last week that he’d be bringing in a top aide to oversee academics. You’ll remember that a stress on academics was the best reason Education Commissioner Johnny Key could come up with for firing Kurrus and hiring Poore. Poore bridled a bit when I said I thougt academics was the reason HE had been hired. A superintendent has many responsibilities, he said. Which is true enough.
PS: I expect a call shortly. But one possibility in a shuffle is a non-renewal notice with a chance to apply for a new job in a restructured administration.