Manatee School Board may approve three new positions Tuesday

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County School District is proposing to hire an athletics coordinator, infrastructure specialist and a technician to work with Title I students.

The three job descriptions on the agenda Tuesday require approval from the Manatee County School Board.

The supervisor of athletics and physical education will liaison between high schools, the district and the state. The supervisor will coordinate scheduling, contracts, coach certifications, budget allocations, facility use, student eligibility, maintaining athletic handbooks and supervise athletic directors, according to the proposed job posting.

The salary is budgeted at $74,460 and the supervisor would report to Cynthia Saunders, executive director of secondary schools. This district-level position existed in the past, Saunders said, but hasn't in quite

some time.

"Over time it was one of the positions that was eliminated, then never filled," she said. "It is a very common position for most districts that are mid- to large-sized."

School athletic directors operate independently and there is little support when a new athletic director comes in, Saunders said. As district enrollment and athletic offerings continue to grow -- the district signed a memorandum of understanding this year to add rowing and lacrosse is under consideration, Saunders said -- the district needs to provide more support.

"We really need a full-time person," she said.

The infrastructure position is designed to help develop, implement, and maintain information technology standards, solution/design templates and governance processes and procedures.

The position pays $68,000 and would report to Patrick Fletcher, chief information officer. The infrastructure specialist will make sure all the different pieces and systems work together, Fletcher said.

"You really need somebody minding the store on the technical side," Fletcher said.

The specialist will help keep all the different systems flowing smoothly, Fletcher said. Many businesses of similar size have a similar IT position, he said.

To combat chronic absenteeism in the district's Title I schools, officials want to create graduate enhancement specialists to work with staff, students and parents. The specialists will use data to create early warning systems for students at risk.

The new position, funded by Title I grants, would report to school principals.

Chronic absenteeism affects grade-level reading. Manatee County has joined a national campaign to keep students reading at grade level. After looking at the numbers with Title I principals and some other factors, Elena Garcia, director of Title I and federal grant programs, said a "confluence of events" led to creating this position.

"The data was pretty grim," Garcia said.

The absenteeism rate at Manatee County schools is 31 percent, and the absenteeism rate at non-Title I schools is 28 percent. The district has 25 Title I schools. Technicians will work with principals and school social workers to examine data and work with students and families on absenteeism and other academic barriers.

If the jobs are approved, the positions will be posted on Taleo, the district hiring system.

In addition, the board is expected to promote two employees:

Mike Barber will replace Steve Valley as director of communications and family and community engagement, pending board approval. Barber is a press relations print specialist and has been interim director since Valley left.

Tammy Taylor, district accounting manager, will become director of finance. Rebecca Roberts was finance director before she was promoted to chief financial officer.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.