As he gathers data submitted by superintendents from school districts around the region that he formed into a research cohort shortly after being hired in Crookston, School District Superintendent Chris Bates has come to learn that when it comes to the size of this district's administrative staff, it resembles the administrator-per-student ratio at other similarly sized districts in the region.
But where the Crookston district appears to differ compared to others with average grade sizes of at least 50 students is in a high school dean of students-type of administrator. The district has been without a dean of students for several years, since budget cuts resulted in Jon Tufte's position at Crookston High School being eliminated.
When Bates looks at the administrative data from the other districts, what he sees is an average full-time equivalent of around .48 for activities/athletic directors and around .53 for assistant principal/dean of students.
"That basically adds up to a full-time position," he told the Times. "But here, we have 1.0 FTE for an AD, and zero for a dean of students."
Bates would like to change that, so on the agenda for the Crookston School Board to consider at its meeting Monday, Nov. 26 is a resolution "realigning" the duties of Don Donarski, the current activities director, and adding dean of students at CHS to his job title.
"I think the best way to describe it is that we'd be kind of formalizing what he really sort of does already," Bates said, adding that Donarski, in a vein similar to Tufte, often serves as the unofficial face of the high school administrative staff by spending time in the hallways and interacting with students.
Having Donarski spend three or four hours a day performing dean of students duties would help Principal Lon Jorgenson, Bates explained, and would also allow for further clarification of administrative assistant duties in the high school office, where Robin Reitmeier, currently a member of the Highland School office staff, is being hired to succeed the retiring Deb Hasbrouck. Reitmeier will join longtime CHS office administrative assistant Liz Rust.
"Even as an AD, it's important that Don know a lot of kids and touch base with them frequently," Bates said. "A lot of this, whether it's the AD and dean or the office staff, will fall under that wonderful phrase...'other duties to be assigned.'"
When seventh and eighth grade moved to the high school, Bates said the administrative staff didn't increase, even though the student body at the school increased by 50 percent. CHS teachers, via a survey they recently completed, wondered if the school had enough administrators to properly oversee the larger student body.
"This will help us moving forward, I think, and be a little clearer for everyone," Bates said. "That's why I'm asking the board to consider it."
Page 2 of 2 - If the change is made, Donarski's salary would remain unchanged.