Schools do some year-end reshuffling
By BARBARA BEHRENDT
© St. Petersburg Times,
INVERNESS -- With the school system's fiscal year drawing to a close, personnel and budget issues took center stage Thursday at the District Services Center in Inverness.
In Superintendent David Hickey's wing, executive director Bill Humbaugh loaded boxes while his secretary sought keys for his new quarters next door, in what is known as the 200 building. Beginning Monday, Humbaugh will be purchasing supervisor, while James Hughes takes over his old job.
The other executive director displaced by Hickey's personnel decisions is David Watson; his replacement is Mary Curry.
Downstairs, personnel office secretary Marion Miller should have been savoring her last day before retirement. Instead, she scrambled to help process all the applications for four assistant principal jobs. Miller's boss, personnel director Sam Stiteler, is moving into a new job herself: assistant director at the Withlacoochee Technical Institute.
The new fiscal year starts July 1. But school administrators and support staffers work four-day weeks during the summer, so Thursday was the last workday of the year.
Hickey said his top priority for the coming months will be finalizing the budget, which will be the first that he and his new finance director, Sam Hurst, will handle together.
Hickey has taken some heat for the personnel decisions that will take effect Monday. The most criticism concerned his selection of Lecanto High School principal Steve Richardson instead of Inverness Primary School principal Terry Charles for personnel director. Some people called Hickey a racist because they said Charles, who is black, was more qualified than Richardson, who is white.
Hickey refuses to talk about why he did not choose Charles, who some say has a far better work experience history than Richardson. But he did say that he plans to talk to Charles about his reasons. She was not available for comment Thursday.
Hickey also said that once budget information is clearer early in July, his staff will resume bargaining contracts with the district's three employees unions.
Facility planning is another priority, especially at the high schools, which this fall are expected to get more students than they have in past years. Talk of building a fourth high school has waned, but plans are in the works to relieve some overcrowding by attracting students to new and expanded programs at the Withlacoochee Technical Institute.
That school houses about 125 students in its largest high-school-age program. Hickey said the school needs to handle more than twice that number.
The high schools are getting new principals: Stephen Myers at Crystal River, replacing the retiring Craig Marlett; Kelly Tyler at Lecanto, replacing Richardson, the new personnel director; and Michael Mullen at Citrus High, replacing Gary Foltz, who has taken a job as a guidance counselor at Crystal River High School.
The job Tyler previously held, directing vocational programs, has not been posted or filled.
Bill Farrell will be Citrus Springs Middle School's new principal, replacing Curry, who took the administrative job. Also at the county office, Gail Grimm will become director of planning and development, and Richard Hilgert will become coordinator of student services.
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