Wichita schools superintendent Alicia Thompson, left. Jaime Green File photo
Wichita schools superintendent Alicia Thompson, left. Jaime Green File photo

Kirk Seminoff's Pivot Point

Community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff blogs about news and issues in Wichita and Kansas.

Pivot Point

Right move, wrong time for beginning to look for a deputy superintendent

By Kirk Seminoff


October 12, 2017 04:39 PM

The Wichita school district has operated with a deputy superintendent far more often than not over the past 50 years, so let’s not be so quick to condemn the move inviting internal applications for a post that hasn’t been filled in more than a decade.

But while not condemning, we’ll also acknowledge the timing is unfortunate.

Teachers continue to work under last year’s contract. They will receive a raise once a mediator brings their union and district together after an impasse was declared. The union is asking for a 5-percent raise, the district is offering 3.75 percent, and both sides have offered increases in step, tracks and longevity pay.

Until the raises come, their frustration is understandable for a position that would likely pay more than the $131,000 average for four assistant superintendents last year. United Teachers of Wichita president Steve Wentz asked the school board not to consider applicants until after a new teacher contract and a determination in the spring of state funding for 2018-19.

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It’s a reasonable request, but don’t mistake putting off the job for not eventually filling the job. First-year superintendent Alicia Thompson, also a first-time superintendent, has determined that a top deputy is important to the district’s upper-level success. That’s her prerogative, and given that the district has often had the job filled, she should be afforded the same courtesy as many former superintendents.

Kirk Seminoff: 316-268-6278, @kseminoff