Oklahoma City School Board members voted unanimously Monday night to accept the resignations of four high-ranking administrators and eliminate their positions as part of district office reorganization plan to improve academic accountability.
The board voted 7-0 to accept the resignation agreements and payments for Deputy Superintendent Sandra Park; Chief Academic Officer Cindy Schmidt; Senior Facilities Officers Terry Wolfe; and Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations Kathleen Kennedy.
All four executives report to interim Superintendent Dave Lopez, who recommended eliminating their positions as part of a sweeping six-month transition plan to improve district academics and accountability.
A fifth position — chief operations officer — also was eliminated. It went unfilled after Jim Burkey retired in September.
A yearly savings from the eliminated positions will total more than $640,000 in salaries and approximately $140,000 in benefits. These funds will be redirected to fill vacant and new positions that will better serve students in the classroom and support principals and teachers at school sites.
“These are difficult decisions for the district and the people involved,” Lopez said. “While change is hard, it is sometimes necessary to move the district toward a more successful future for our children and our schools.”
Under the reorganization plan, seven people would report directly to Lopez, including Tamie Sanders, the district's executive director of secondary education and Pat Watson-Hunt, the executive director of elementary education, and a new position — director of logistics position to oversee facilities maintenance, transportation and food service vendor contracts.
“This leaner structure provides immediate benefits and will provide the incoming superintendent flexibility while he or she determines long term structure plans,” Lopez said.
Park, Schmidt, Wolfe and Kennedy are expected to work for the district until Feb. 15. Schmidt and Wolfe made brief presentations Monday night, and declined to comment. Neither Park nor Kennedy attended the meeting.