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Morgan says she'll aim for efficiency

February 07, 2002

Morgan says she'll aim for efficiency



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


Washington County Public Schools Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said she plans to evaluate some school system jobs for efficiency, but is not sure whether any positions will be cut.

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"I think this is what's done in private industry and everywhere if you're trying to be efficient," Morgan said.

She said she plans to begin the evaluation by mid-April. The work will include determining whether some current positions are needed and whether some should be combined, upgraded or downgraded, she said.

"There aren't going to be any dramatic shake-ups, absolutely not," Morgan said Wednesday.

Morgan will be the interim superintendent until June 30. Her four-year contract as schools superintendent will go into effect on July 1.

She said at a Tuesday School Board meeting that the board's proposed fiscal year 2003 operating budget isn't sufficient to cover all of the school system's needs, so the board must look elsewhere for funds.

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"This doesn't come anywhere near satisfying the need that we have," Morgan said Tuesday. "In order to satisfy our needs, we are going to need to go through a process of re-evaluation."

The School Board's proposed budget of $132.7 million for fiscal 2003 is a $7.2 million increase over last year's $125.5 million budget. Of that $7.2 million, the board is asking Washington County to contribute $5.78 million over its current contribution of about $70 million.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners is the main funding source for the School Board, followed by the state. The federal government contributes a small percentage.

"We're trying to be realistic, and I do believe the commissioners will appreciate that," Morgan said.

Morgan said she'd like to create some expensive programs and possibly extend the teachers' work year from 10 to 12 months, but the money isn't available.

"Obviously, the school system has a lot of needs," she said.

School Board member Paul Bailey on Wednesday night put off saying whether he supports or opposes the possible elimination or restructuring of jobs until he sees the plan.

"I don't have any idea of what positions would be compacted or eliminated," Bailey said. "I need to see more of the plan."

He said, however, the evaluation is a good idea.

"I think it's always a good idea to assess and look at positions," Bailey said. "Most systems, I'm sure, do that on a regular basis."

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