School News: Recommendation is people, not numbers

By Deb Henton, Ed.D.

Superintendent

At a special school board meeting on Thursday, March 1, district staff presented the 2012-13 budget recommendation to the school board. School board members asked many questions about the process, assumptions, and the future, and complimented staff for the hard work that goes into creating the recommendation.

For us, presenting the recommendation is the end of the longest and most somber day of the year at North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS). All staff that are impacted by the recommendation are notified personally and privately prior to the meeting. We do this so that affected staff don’t have to hear that their position is recommended to be cut or changed at a public meeting. Across the district, many difficult conversations are taking place; there is frustration and tears.

Most unfortunate of all, it has become an annual tradition here at NBAPS.

Last Thursday evening prior to the school board meeting, district leadership met to review and provide support for one another and I was quite moved by what I heard.

I have never been shy about the amazing staff we enjoy here at NBAPS, and I was struck by that realization again last week. Losing a job, or adjusting to a reassignment, is not an easy thing. It invokes a strong emotional reaction. Over and over though, I heard about staff members who, despite their fear over an uncertain future, took a moment to say they understood the circumstances.

It is the easiest thing in the world to turn frustration on messengers with bad news. So easy, in fact, it is a cliche. It takes a great amount of courage and character to hear terrible news and respond by comforting the messenger.

We never want to lose staff. We hired them because we believed them to be high quality individuals. That character was never more on display than last week in the face of adversity.

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