Miami-Dade Schools

Miami-Dade School Board to move principals, vote on police chief

The Miami-Dade school district is about to shake up its staff to prepare for a changing statewide education curriculum, brace for federal budget cuts and embark on $1.2 billion in construction projects.

Departments are merging. Positions are being cut, and others created. And for the first time, principals are getting their new fall assignments before the end of the school year.

The wide-ranging moves by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, which in many cases will shift staff from the district’s central offices to school sites, are up for a vote by the Miami-Dade School Board on Wednesday during a specially scheduled meeting.

“This is following a best practice of looking at our staffing levels, looking at our priorities and our strategic plan and aligning what we actually do to the most important value for us,” said Enid Weisman, the district’s chief human capital officer. “And that’s the schools.”

Also up for a vote: a new contract ratified Monday by the district’s police union, and a new chief to lead them in Miami Police Maj. Ian Moffett, a former schools police officer.

Overall, the district expects its reshuffling will save $10 million, mostly by reducing positions, Weisman said.

School administrators, capital facilities employees and central office secretaries stand to be most impacted by cuts. Weisman, however, said many cuts are of vacant positions and most employees who lose their job will be brought back.

There is no concrete number of positions axed under the reorganization. Weisman has defined potential cuts and “position downgrades” by percentages and bargaining units: up to 17 percent of school administrators and 2 percent of maintenance workers, for example.

The department most changed by the coming reorganization is the facilities office, which is being downsized to make room for Parsons Brinckerhoff, a private firm hired by the Miami-Dade School Board to oversee $1.2 billion in bond-funded projects during the next five or six years. Meanwhile, an auditor will be hired exclusively to be a watchdog on project spending.

Staff who oversee programs funded by federal Title 1 grants, which due to sequester cuts and expiring grants could fall 10 to 20 percent, are also being reduced. At the same time, the district wants to retool its Office of Exceptional Student Education to take a closer and earlier look at the increasingly diagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder.

And with Florida shifting to the common core curriculum, the district is combining its math, science and career technical education departments to ensure interdisciplinary instruction. Information Technology Services, a department last reorganized in 2006, will also be overhauled.

Perhaps the most visible of the moves to be made Wednesday comes in moving school administrators to new positions. Normally, the district waits until July to announce new posts for principals and assistant principals. But this year the district’s administration wanted to start the process early.

MAST Academy on Virginia Key, Homestead Senior High, Henry H. Filer Middle School and Colonial Drive Elementary are among the three dozen schools getting new principals after the end of the school year. More principals and assistant principals are expected to move in the coming weeks.

Delio Diaz, executive director of the Dade Association of School Administrators, said the earlier announcement is “a good thing.”

“It’s going to give the principals a little more time to transition to their new assignments,” he said.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the Miami-Dade School Administration Building auditorium, 1450 NE Second Ave., Miami.

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