Valley Schools shuffle staff to boost budget

June 14, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

LUCASVILLE — Kevin Lloyd has been hired by the Valley Local School Board as the district’s new high school principal. Superintendent Carl McCrory said the move is another step toward restructuring the staff to help save the district nearly $500,000 to avoid a deficit budget.

The district’s general fund had dwindled to only a 30-day supply of cash, largely because 10 employees retired with severance pay out and less revenue collected in January and February. Eighty percent of the school’s budget is tied up in personnel, McCrory said. On top of everything else, middle school principal Mark Kreischer announced he was leaving to return to South Webster.

McCrory said the district was faced with some tough challenges, and they had to find a creative way to handle them if they hoped to avoid a deficit.

“We had to reorganize along the third grade reading guarantee, and we had to turn our plan in to the state to be compliant by 2015 totally. Our mindset was, if we’re going to start moving people — instead of just doing a little bit here, let’s just make the switch and get it rolling,” McCrory said.

Included in the move, he said, was the elimination of seven vacant positions this year, and two more from last year that add even more to the district’s total savings. The gap will be picked up by moving employees around and shifting responsibilities among the remaining staff.

“The board and I both feel very good about what we have. We can save the district a lot of money. We can provide the exact amount of services and they’ll appreciate the staff picking up more responsibility and not asking for more. It takes a team to win, and I see that happening,” McCrory said.

One place where the district found they could move a teacher and eliminate cost was with Curriculum Director Lori Jenkins.

“Lori Jenkins is a great employee, but she costs us close to $100,000. She’s the curriculum director, but curriculum services are all free from (the South Center Ohio Educational Services Center), so the smart money doesn’t mean you pay for that. So we’re putting her at the elementary,” McCrory explained.

Current elementary principal Todd Shoemaker has been moved to the middle school, the position principal Kreischer left. Additionally, high school principal Lisa Harley has been moved to the central office as director of student services, and Kevin Lloyd has been hired as the new high school principal.

“I really believe our new recruit, Kevin Lloyd, will be an asset to the children of this district. His previous experiences as a coach, athletic director and building principal will not only allow for a smooth transition for our staff and students but a continuation of the high expectations we have at Valley High School,” McCrory said.

In her new role as director of student services, Harley will oversee many essential, non-curricular activities to the district such as Latch Key, the Ohio Improvement Process, preschool, and special education.

“This was a position that we used to have at Valley but did not replace when Ken Smith retired. At the time, it was the right decision financially, but one that we now believe needs to be filled. By reassigning these two administrators, we replaced that position at no additional cost to the district and will still maintain curriculum services,” McCrory said.

The restructuring at Valley will help the district avoid a budget deficit for one, maybe two years, McCrory said, and allows the district to continue offering summer school programs.

“It surely was a win-win for all stakeholders of the district. The great thing is we gained in every category and spent less money,” McCrory said. “I just want to thank all of the staff members for stepping out to take on more for the good of our kids. This willingness to accept change is one of the things that make Valley such a great place.”

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.