The administrative leadership team for the Fairfax County Public Schools has gotten smaller. As part of a reorganization aimed at saving the school system some money, one assistant superintendent position and an entire department have disappeared.
The Department of General Services, which had been responsible for the offices of transportation, food and nutrition services, safety and security, and supply operations has been dismantled with the food services and supply operations being absorbed by the Department of Financial Services; and security and transportation falling under the newly created Department of Facilities and Transportation Services, which also includes the offices under the existing Department of Facilities. Dean Tistadt, former assistant superintendent of general services, will now head the new department.
Earlier this year, Thomas Brady, the then-assistant superintendent of facilities, was elevated to the new position of chief operating officer (COO). At that time, the assistant superintendent for administration was phased out, with the new COO taking its place.
In all, the changes reduce the previous 11-member leadership team, not including to schools superintendent Daniel Domenech, by one at an estimated savings of $200,000 per year.
"It means more work for everybody," said Brady. "I don't see [any more restructuring] in the near future."
FURTHER CHANGES, however, are not out of the question. Brady said part of the reorganization will include a look at the affected departments to see if there is any duplication of work or areas were consolidations can be made.
"I'm not willing to commit to other changes [within the new department] or to say that there won't be further changes," Tistadt said. "Any number of things can happen creating a need for more changes and we have to be ready for those changes. Change is good. Change provides the opportunity for new things."
Both Brady and Tistadt said that for now, no other positions are on the chopping block. Tistadt and Charles Woodruff, who was reappointed to the chief financial officer position and heads the financial services department, will each receive a annual salary of $131,805. Brady, as COO, receives an annual salary of $134,802.
The changes are in part, a response to the ever-shrinking state funding. In May, the Fairfax County School Board passed a $1.554 billion budget, which took effect in July, after cutting $47 million in administrative and program costs. The board is also anticipating the need to cut an additional $60 million to $70 million from the FY 2004 budget.
"We've cut administration tremendously, going back to the 1990s," Brady said. "It's getting to the point where the leaders were saying we need to cut leaders."
AS THE COO, Brady is responsible for the support-services side of the school system freeing Deputy Superintendent Alan Leis to concentrate on the instructional-services side of the operation.
"Things are better coordinated and are now more efficient," Brady said. "Not just in how everything works, but also in how the different departments relate to each other."
Brady has moved into a temporary office in the Burkholder Center building in Fairfax. Tistadt will be moving into Brady's old office on Paige Avenue, also in Fairfax. As for his new duties, Tistadt said he already has some knowledge about capital construction, but expects he'll have to do some catching up.
"Safety and security blend in very well with facilities. Transportation into facilities isn't so neat," Tistadt said. "But enrollment and program growth hit facilities and transportation the hardest."
Brady assumed the role of chief operation officer in August, the newest changes went into effect Oct. 15.