BAR HARBOR — Julie Meltzer’s job as director of curriculum, assessment and instruction for the Mount Desert Island Regional School System is too big for one person, Superintendent Marc Gousse has determined, so he plans to hire two people to replace her.
Meltzer announced last month that she would be resigning effective this Friday after eight years in the position.
Gousse said another position in the central office will be eliminated, so the salaries for the two new positions will not cost taxpayers in the school district any additional money.
He had initially planned to hire one person for Meltzer’s job. But on the advice of Meltzer and others, he said he will hire two people with the title of director of teaching and learning, one for grades pre-K-6 and another for grades 7-12.
“The rationale is to provide increased support for classroom teachers, support staff and administration in best serving the needs of our students,” Gousse said.
“The most important thing we do is teaching and learning. So, we should be providing the resources and support for the teachers. Even with all the capacity that Julie [Meltzer] has, she couldn’t get into all those classrooms.”
The stated objective of the two new positions is to “direct the planning, delivery, assessment and ongoing improvement of curriculum and instruction programs.”
Along with that broad objective is a to-do list of 30 specific tasks and responsibilities.
“As much as this is good for the education of kids, we’ve got to balance the books and live within our existing budget,” Gousse said.
He said that replacing one person with two will not require any increase in taxpayer funding. The job of RTI/assessment coordinator for the school system, currently held by Jill Cohen, will be eliminated, and the salaries that she and Meltzer would have received will be used to pay the new employees.
Meltzer’s budgeted salary for the fiscal year that starts July 1 is $112,208. Cohen’s is $77,740. That is a total of $189,948.
Gousse said he anticipates the salary for each of the new directors of teaching and learning will be between $105,000 and $109,000. The higher of those numbers would bring the total for the two positions to $218,000, or $28,052 more than the budgeted salaries for Meltzer and Cohen combined.
Whatever the difference turns out to be, Gousse said, it will be covered by “available approved federal funds.”
He said Cohen’s duties as RTI/assessment coordinator will be folded into the two new positions.
“Jill [Cohen] is a valued member of our team, and we hope to retain her services in other ways within our district.”
Gousse’s plan to split Meltzer’s job and hire two people to replace her does not require the approval of the school system board. But he discussed the plan with the board last week and said he felt “fully supported.”