The shrinking BCPSS bureaucracy
I said last week that I'd be looking into what's happening with the area academic officer positions in the city schools. Here is an update.
For anyone in another district who isn't familiar with the bureaucracy of the Baltimore school system, the AAOs are the administrators who directly supervise principals; each of nine AAOs is assigned somewhere in the ballpark of 20 schools to oversee.
To recap for everyone, five of the nine AAO positions are now empty, following the retirement of James Smith (Elementary Area 2) and Deborah Wortham (High School Area 6), the resignation of Marilyn Perez (Middle School Area 5; her position has an interim replacement), and the promotions of Irma Johnson (Elementary Area 1) and Mary Minter (Chief Academic Officer's Area). With the school system projecting that it will need to cut $50 million from its budget for next academic year and Andres Alonso vowing that the cuts will not come directly from the schools, there is wide speculation that the AAO positions are on the way out.
When I asked Dr. Alonso about this, he said that major administrative restructuring isn't coming until this summer. Over the next few weeks, he will be holding a few optional meetings for principals and other school leadership to get feedback on what the restructured administration will look like. In the meantime, for the remainder of this school year, the nine areas technically still exist -- even if most of the AAO positions are empty. AAOs generally are the people who do principals' performance evaluations. Alonso said that principals who no longer have an AAO will be reviewed this year either by Johnson (named executive director of elementary and elementary/middle schools last week), Roger Shaw (the new executive director of secondary schools) or Minter (the new chief academic officer).