The Aiken County School District relies on a formula based on enrollment to determine how assistant principals and other non-classroom faculty are allocated within the schools.
At a budget workshop in preparation for the 2014-15 fiscal year, School Board members on Tuesday asked District administrators to examine the assistant principal formulas for the middle and high schools.
Deputy Superintendent David Caver readily acknowledged that the formula process still in use predates all current District administrators. This is a good time, Board member Wesley Hightower said, to include the concept “of what's the right thing” in allocating assistant principal positions.
That could apply to Kennedy Middle School, which has 956 students. It's among five schools that have 1.5 assistant principals – meaning the second administrator may teach half-time or serve as an assistnat principal at two schools. Three of the other schools – Schofield, North Augusta and Paul Knox – have enrollments of around 675, while LBC has 595. They also have a 1.5 allocation. Based on the formula, Kennedy can't get two full-time assistants until its enrollment reaches 1,000. A workshop budget document identifies as a need an additional allocation for Kennedy.
Last spring the School Board did not approve a request to revise the allocation formula – a change that would provide one assistant principal per 400 students with increments of a .50 FTE (full-time equivalent) per 200 students. What's left is a process for the high schools that District administrators agree is confusing. The three largest schools – Aiken High, South Aiken High and North Augusta High – have FTEs ranging from 3.17 to 3.51. Each school relies on unused teacher allocations for additional funding. That procedure came out of necessity, Caver said.
Moving to the “400-student” revision would require as many as the equivalent of three new positions, eliminating the schools' use of their own funds. However, Board member Tad Barber expressed concern that the District may not be able to fund those positions next year, which would cost about $250,000 in salary and fringe benefits.
Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.