Position Paper On Proposals To Allow School Districts Of A Certain Size Not To Employ A Superintendent Of Schools
Joseph J. Cirasuolo, Ed.D.
The CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) which represents the superintendents of CT’s public school districts is opposed to proposals that would allow school districts with a sufficiently small student enrollment to not employ a superintendent of schools. This opposition is based on the following facts.
- There are 28 school districts in CT with only one school in the district. Of those districts:
- Sixteen are led by part time superintendents who are paid to work only two days a week.
- Nine are led by regional school district superintendents who are shared with other school districts.
- Three are led by full time superintendents.
- Under present legislation, any two or more boards of education can hire the same individual to serve the two or more school districts as long as that individual is certified by the State of CT to be a superintendent of schools.
- Under present legislation, any board of education can select the same individual to serve as both a principal of a school and as the superintendent for the district as long as that individual is certified by the State to serve as both a principal and a superintendent.
- Under present legislation, any school board can make the superintendency for its district part time.
- Proponents of the proposal to allow certain boards of education to not employ a superintendent claim that if enacted, the proposal could result in cost savings without sacrificing efficient and effective leadership for a school district.
Given this set of facts, the only end result of a proposal that would allow a school district to not employ a superintendent of schools would be situations in which already elected or appointed municipal officials who are not educators would be leading school districts. Any other action would not result in cost savings because whoever is hired to lead the district would have to be paid an appropriate salary and be given appropriate benefits.
CAPSS, therefore, asserts that it is impossible to claim accurately that giving school system leadership responsibilities to non-educators who already have full time jobs would result in anything other than a significant decline in the efficiency and effectiveness that parents and members of the general public have a right to expect will define the leadership of a school district.
CAPSS also asserts that those who are making the proposal in question have little or no understanding of what superintendents do. We, therefore, invite them to any and all of the following:
- A meeting with superintendents for the purpose of providing an accurate description of the responsibilities being met by superintendents.
- A review of the relevant literature that describes research results that have established the link between superintendent effectiveness and student learning.
- An opportunity to actually shadow a superintendent for a few days for the purpose of observing first-hand what superintendents are expected to do.