ACPS Board fails to pass part of the superintendent’s reorganization plan for a second time

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Alachua County Superintendent Carlee Simon is working to reshape the district less than three weeks before the start of school. However, school board members are once again at odds after another split vote. This centers around proposed new jobs and amended descriptions and titles for current positions to which some in the district object.

In late June, board members failed to pass the Superintendent’s entire reorganization plan. Fast forward a month later, they are still at an impasse with certain positions. District 5 Board Member Rob Hyatt said one of the reasons he is continuing to vote no on the remaining positions is because the budget remains uncertain.

“The idea that we need a total overhaul to me, I think, is an overreach,” explained Hyatt.

According to Hyatt, he compromised at last month’s meeting, and 19 positions got the green light to move forward.

“The majority of the superintendent’s positions were approved at the last meeting,” said Hyatt.

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Board Chair Dr. Leanetta McNealy said all of the board members have had the opportunity to talk with Superintendent Simon. She believes it is essential that the board is unified.

“With the split votes that we are now facing, it can be somewhat frustrating. In fact, even disappointing, and basically that is what I felt when the vote went through with it being 2-2, because of the prospect of knowing what our system needs,” said McNealy.

She thinks approving and filling the proposed positions would help tremendously.

“Here we are now saying we don’t need any more individuals. I think because the people we have in place who had done such an excellent job, I guess some of my colleagues felt the work was getting done, so why put more people in place,” said McNealy. “That’s where I think. I’m only thinking what they must have been thinking.”

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Hyatt doesn’t think now is the time to be adding new jobs.

“It is not so much the individual jobs as it is the volume of the jobs,” explained Hyatt.

He thinks changing titles or descriptions of jobs is not an emergency.

“If you are calling somebody an Assistant Superintendent or calling them Chief, I’m good either way. I don’t see the urgency in changing job titles,” said Hyatt.

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He explains he is willing to listen and consider certain individual positions or small groups of positions.

“I would be very happy to talk with the superintendent on several specific positions that we could look at,” said Hyatt.

The split vote means no new jobs will be created, and this discussion will continue.

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