2018-05-10 / News

Board OKs job details of innovation post

By Abigail Worthing
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – The Biddeford School department is proposing a new position in its budget to help create a more cohesive curriculum throughout the district.

The position, titled director of innovation and instruction, is similar to that of a curriculum coordinator.

The position would aid in establishing vertical alignment throughout the Biddeford school system to ensure that all levels of education are performing in unison.

The job description was approved unanimously during the April 24 school board meeting, with Assistant Superintendent Christopher Indorf detailing the requirements for the job, calling the position description “pretty exhaustive,” to which school board member Lisa Vadnais replied, “I’m tired just reading it.”

The job description has 22 bullet points listing the responsibilities for the position, including working with the superintendent on strategic planning for the district, making policy recommendations regarding elementary and secondary education, and assisting with the inculcation of new staff. According to the description, he position will be considered a “go-to” resource for educators in the district, and will help with the advancement of the district.

“This position will liaise between all these (school) buildings to make sure they’re all on the same page. They’ll be doing everything,” said Indorf in a separate interview.

“Right now, elementary school students go to three schools. That’s three staffs, three curriculums. We need to make sure there is alignment between all of them, kindergarten-12,” said Jeremy Ray, superintendent of Biddeford schools..

According to Ray, the position will be paid between $80,000 and $90,000.

A portion of this is included in the curriculum section of the budget, however the rest is anticipated to be funded by federal dollars, and therefore not included in the budget. This will be a multiyear position within the school department, but is contingent on the passing of this year’s budget and will not eliminate any current position.

As of May 7, the school department has completed the first round of interviews with three to four candidates.

The candidates are interviewing for what Indorf calls an “anticipated position,” and are aware that the offers are contingent on the budget. A second round of interviews will take place with Ray.

The proposed school budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 is $21,999,427, a .08 percent increase of $17,688 from the previous budget.

“It is effectively a zero increase to the mill rate,” Indorf said.

Indorf holds that less-than 1 percent increase to the budget as a point of pride.

“Other districts want to pass 5, 6, 7 percent increases every year, but we try to keep it as low as possible, usually between zero-1 percent,” Indorf said.

Indorf also spoke highly of the grants the school applies for and receives that help offset inflation and annual increases to the budget. Indorf said the district works to be “super entrepreneurial” in working to bring in money to the district without having to ask taxpayers.

The Biddeford School District also receives contracted funds from Dayton to run the school department, which it can in turn use as revenue to pay for additions such as this position.

The proposed revenue from the shared service with Dayton for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is $158,000.

“Any other district this size has a position like this. It has been a vacancy in this district for years, and is needed to move forward,” Indorf said.

Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthecourier.com.

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