HUBBARD - District administrators say award-winning Hubbard Elementary School assistant principal Robyn Fette's position simply isn't needed anymore, and Superintendent Richard Buchenic says it isn't about costs.
"We are reorganizing and consolidating administrative services," Buchenic said.
Fette's responsibilities would be shared among the remaining administrators, including himself, he said.
Board President Dr. Benjamin Hayek said recently the reorganization plan is to be presented at the next board meeting, scheduled for June 25. But the issue was raised recently as a non-agenda item during another regular school board meeting.
Hayek said the recommendation on Fette's position is Buchenic's to make, and the board will review it fairly, but said he agrees with the idea.
"We all know she is an award-winning individual, but we don't need the position," he said. "It's not needed anymore. We don't want to be giving jobs just because there's someone there to do the job."
Residents decried the decision at a recent board meeting, and Hayek said he found their comments "disconcerting."
Hayek said the board has been successful in maintaining fiscal responsibility, increasing academic performance and standing in the state, as a school of excellence, and maintaining sports program that is "quite admirable."
"If the community feels we're not doing a good job, that's what the election process is all about. It's very easy to change the school board," he said.
Roosevelt Elementary principal Raymond Solomon declined to comment, and Fette did not return calls seeking comment.
Declining enrollment was cited as a reason for cutting positions. Officials also have stated that Fette would be allowed to stay on as a teacher should the reorganization be approved.
District report cards listed on the Ohio Department of Education website show that in Fette's first year as assistant principal, there were 719 elementary students, while the 2010-11 school year report card shows 745 students.
While the elementary school has gained, though, the middle and high schools lost 91 collectively.
Buchenic said the district overall has lost students since he became superintendent in 2002, despite open enrollment.
Board policy says the district can suspend or eliminate an administrative contract for five reasons, including "financial conditions affecting the district," and "reorganization and / or consolidation of administrative functions."
Fette, a West Middlesex, Pa., native, won the first Assistant Principal Award from the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators on May 1.
According to the district's website, she became a kindergarten teacher there in 2002 and was promoted to assistant principal at Roosevelt Elementary in 2006. Previously, Fette was a kindergarten teacher in Youngstown City Schools.
Her salary as assistant principal is $62,257. Buchenic has declined to say what her pay grade would be if she returned to teaching duties.
Buchenic said it is difficult to judge how the reorganization will affect the district financially until all posted positions are filled and all other personnel issues are addressed.
The district has saved money through attrition, including a recently retired nurse whose responsibilities are now split among two others, he said.
Buchenic said the district has no plans to cut any other positions, and will not be seeking a levy despite the fact that the district has acquired no new money since 2002. He said the roughly $500,000 spent on the district's new administration building all comes from allocated bond funds that can be used only for construction, not from from the general fund. He said if the money was not used for the building, the district would have to forfeit the funds.