Opportunity exists within our Perham Area School District. Why? Opportunity exists because it appears we will soon see the departure of our superintendent, Tamara Uselman, and one of our three principals, John Rutten.
What is the nature of this opportunity? It entails the possible re-structuring of our district's administrative paradigm.
Past practice in Minnesota has been that each school district has a superintendent, and each school within that district has a principal. However, there is no Minnesota law that dictates this past practice. In fact, other Minnesota school districts have taken steps to re-structure their administrations.
Why did those other districts do this re-structuring? Most likely to save money. Why should we consider re-structuring our administration? To save money.
As most of you readers know, Perham has been unsuccessful in recent years in securing an operating levy. If you add to that fact the seeming certainty that the geothermal heating system at Prairie Wind Middle School will need costly repair, along with the strong possibility that Minnesota will reduce funding to school districts, the result may be a very perilous financial situation in the Perham Area school district.
Perham Area school board members: please consult with our departing administrators, our continuing administrators, our district staff and students and our interested community members. Explore the possibilities. Please think outside the old paradigm. The old paradigm is not necessary.
For example, a possible new paradigm I would have you consider would be to parcel out some of the superintendent and principal duties to current staff. In recent years, some of our school staff have lost their full-time employment. And some of our full-time staff may be interested in taking on some administrative duties. Consider the possibilities.
Anytime new organizational paradigms are explored, it is important not to lose sight of the reason the organization exists. In this case, the school district exists to serve the young people of our community. Could our young people survive and thrive under a different administrative paradigm? We don't know; but students are very resilient and I say it is worth a try.
Difficult situations almost always leave doors open for new opportunity. It simply takes a community with both a vision and a determination to develop those opportunities.
Thomas Neil Tomporowski