School District 20 has reinstated its director of human resources position after shelving it for months for cost savings.
When Greg Luterbach moved from this past role into his new position as superintendent of schools in the summer it freed up funds, which would’ve worked out to about $125,000 annually.
“We had taken the HR role and split it among three of us and after doing that for a number of months we decided nope, that’s not going to work longterm and we decided to reinstate the position,” he explained. “At the end of the day, we were looking at a potential cost savings but at the same time we had talked with the board and the board was aware that we would try this for a bit and see what the workload was like.”
Glenmerry parent Roland Vogel does not see this move as a fruitful choice during a time when the budget hangs heavy overhead of local schools.
“Whereas I appreciate the important job that school district administration does, we should be cautious to start reinstating or creating new administrative positions when we are in a situation where programs are being cut, where children are in portables, and where schools are being closed or under threat of closure,” he said, via email to the Times. “Our teachers and students have already made sacrifices and are making due with less. Our school district administration has to do the same and lead by example.”
The district has hired on Marcy VanKoughnett to start up the position again in February. VanKoughnett has spent the past 14 years working in Prince Rupert as a teacher, school-based administrator and as a director of instruction/human resources.
She will look after the over 500 teachers and support staff in the Kootenay-Columbia.
“Certainly we’re always looking for how we can operate differently – sometimes we’ve tried combining roles, sometimes we’ve eliminated roles and sometimes we’ve looked at slicing the pie – but at the end of the day we know that as a school district we spend about 85 to 90 per cent of our money on human resources,” said Luterbach.
“We needed to dedicate someone fulltime to work with those important staff to ensure that we’re taking care of our people and that we’re able to look longterm and support our staff.”