Skip to content
Quick Start for:

Table of Contents

A. Board and Governance
B. Planning
C. District Management
D. Site-Based Decision-Making

CURRENT SITUATION

MPISD is managed by a superintendent and senior staff members who report to the superintendent. As specified by Section 11.201 of the Texas Education Code, the superintendent primarily holds:

  • Administrative responsibility for the planning, operation, supervision, and evaluation of the educational programs, services, and facilities of the district and for annual performance appraisals of the staff.
  • Administrative authority and responsibility for the assignment and evaluation of all district personnel.
  • Responsibility for termination or suspension of staff members or the nonrenewal of staff members' term contracts.
  • Authority over day-to-day management of district operations.
  • Responsibility for preparation of district budgets.
  • Responsibility for preparation of policy recommendations for the board and implementation of adopted policies.
  • Responsibility for development of appropriate administrative regulations to implement board policies.
  • Responsibility for leadership in attainment of student performance.
  • Responsibility for organization of the district's central administration.

The district organization is depicted in Exhibit 1-7.

Exhibit 1-7
MPISD Organization
1998-99

org chart

Source: MPISD.

Under the organization, MPISD administrators perform multiple duties.

The deputy superintendent for Administration and Operations oversees many business-related functions of the district and also serves as the personnel director, the energy management coordinator, and the hearing officer for the alternative school. The deputy superintendent also is responsible for the drug testing program and facilities, insurance, and purchasing issues.

The deputy superintendent for Instruction and Technology oversees the district's instructional technology programs and all instruction-related programs for special student populations. She also serves as coordinator for all special programs except Special Education, including Accelerated Schools, Content Mastery, counseling services, deaf education, English as a Second Language (ESL)/bilingual, emergency immigrant, Gifted and Talented, Compensatory, and Title I.

The deputy superintendent for Curriculum oversees the operation of curriculum and also serves as the elementary and secondary curriculum director, coordinator of the dyslexia program, testing coordinator, and staff development coordinator.

In a written survey of parents, teachers, campus administrators, and central administrative staff, 39 percent of the parents and 35 percent of the teachers gave the superintendent an "A" or "B" grade (Exhibit 1-8). Fifty-four percent of the parents and 79 percent of the teachers gave campus administrators an "A" or "B" grade.

Exhibit 1-8
Grades Given to the MPISD Superintendent and Campus Administrators
by Teachers and Parents

  Superintendent Campus Administrators
Group A B C D F A B C D F
Parents 16% 23% 18% 9% 13% 16% 38% 14% 9% 2%
Teachers 15% 30% 18% 14% 13% 39% 40% 14% 2% 3%

Source: TSPR Survey Results.

The full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) for the district for 1994-95 through 1997-98 and the budgeted total for 1997-98 are described in Exhibit 1-9. MPISD staffing has increased at more than twice the rate as the student population (12.3 percent versus 5.8 percent) since 1994-95. The largest numerical increases have been in teachers and auxiliary staff. The largest percentage increases have been in campus administration/school leadership positions and educational aides. Central administration staff includes all or part of the time filled by the following positions: superintendent, deputy superintendent for Administration and Operations, secretaries for the two positions, business manager, textbook custodian, and six changes in positions in the business office. Professional support includes technical staff and paraprofessionals located centrally or on a campus. Auxiliary staff includes maintenance personnel, custodians, and cafeteria workers.

Exhibit 1-9
MPISD Staff Positions
1994-95 through 1997-98

Staff
Category
1994-95
Actual
1995-96
Actual
1996-97
Actual
1997-98
Budget
Percentage of Change
over the Period
Teachers 312.9 317.1 327.8 335.5 7.2%
Professional support 22.0 28.6 21.9 25.7 16.8%
Campus administration 13.0 14.0 12.0 18.0 38.5%
Central administration 9.5 7.0 6.0 6.0 -36.8%
Educational aides 60.5 66.0 71.4 79.9 32.1%
Auxiliary staff 162.1 164.2 163.7 186.3 24.2%
Total staff 580.0 596.9 602.8 651.5 12.3%
Enrollment 4,202 4,290 4,375 4,444 5.8%

Source: Texas Education Agency, AEIS 1995-96 through 1997-98.

Exhibit 1-10 breaks down the FTEs by categories of employees. The percentage of teachers declined, but teachers made up more than half the district's staff in 1997-98.

Exhibit 1-10
Breakdown of MPISD Staff Positions
1995-96 through 1997-98

Staff
Category
1995-96
Actual
1996-97
Actual
1997-98
Budget
Teachers 53.1% 59.6% 51.5%
Professional support 4.8% 4.0% 4.0%
Campus administration 2.3% 2.2% 2.8%
Central administration 1.2% 1.1% 0.9%
Educational aides 11.1% 13.0% 12.3%
Auxiliary staff 27.5% 20.2% 28.6%

Source: Texas Education Agency, AEIS 1995-96 -1997-98.

Although an individual works in the central administrative building, their position may be coded to other areas based on their responsibilities. In MPISD, 26 individuals work in the Central Services Support Building (Exhibit 1-11). Since 1996-97, MPISD staffing in central administration has increased by two positions. One of those positions, the homeless grant coordinator, is paid through grant funds, not local funds.

Exhibit 1-11
MPISD Central Administration Staffing
1996-97 through 1998-99

Position Title 1996
-97
1997
-98
1998
-99
Superintendent 1 1 1
Secretary 1 1 1
Deputy superintendent - Administration and Operations 1 1 1
Secretary 1 1 1
Deputy superintendent - Curriculum 1 1 1
Secretary 1 1 1
Deputy superintendent - Instruction and Technology 1 1 1
Secretary 1 1 1
Business manager 1 1 1
Payroll supervisor 1 1 1
Accounts payable clerk 1 1 1
Purchasing agent 1 1 1
Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) coordinator 1 1 1
Accounts/inventory clerk 1 1 1
Risk manager 1 1 1
Public information officer 1 1 1
Receptionist 1 1 1
Literacy coordinator 1 1 1
Migrant program coordinator 1 1 1
Gifted/Talented coordinator 1 1 1
Homeless grant coordinator 0 1 1
Instructional technology staff 4 5 5

Total

24 26 26

Source: MPISD.

Exhibit 1-12 shows MPISD's budgeted staffing for 1997-98 compared to peer districts. MPISD had the second lowest percentage of teachers (51.5 percent). This percentage lags both the region, 53.2 percent, and the state, 51.7 percent. MPISD had the third-lowest percentage of professional support staff and central administrators, the second-highest percentage of campus administrators, the third- highest percentage of educational aides, and the fourth highest percentage of auxiliary personnel.

Exhibit 1-12
Budgeted Staff
MPISD and Peer Districts
1997-98

District Teachers Professional
Support
Campus
Administrators
Central
Administrators
Educational
Aides
Auxiliary
Staff
Liberty
Eylau
56.7% 5.8% 3.0% 1.4% 9.6% 23.6%
Kilgore 56.5% 3.3% 2.7% 0.9% 7.2% 29.4%
Terrell 54.0% 6.9% 2.6% 1.0% 11.0% 24.6%
Kaufman 53.9% 5.8% 3.0% 1.0% 7.8% 28.5%
Greenville 53.3% 6.0% 1.6% 1.1% 12.0% 26.0%
RESC VIII Average 53.2% 5.2% 2.8% 1.3% 12.8% 24.7%
Corsicana 52.1% 5.3% 2.7% 1.7% 15.4% 22.9%
Athens 51.9% 3.7% 3.0% 1.7% 10.8% 29.0%
Texarkana 51.7% 6.5% 2.4% 0.8% 8.7% 29.9%
State Average 51.7% 6.8% 2.5% 0.8% 9.9% 28.2%
Mt. Pleasant 51.5% 4.0% 2.8% 0.9% 12.3% 28.6%
Paris 49.4% 8.5% 2.9% 0.7% 13.6% 24.9%

Source: Texas Education Agency, AEIS 1997-98.

Section 16.205 of the Texas Education Code requires TEA to analyze district expenditures to identify districts that exceed established administrative cost standards in the prior year. MPISD's administrative cost ratio for since 1994-95 has been less than the required standard (Exhibit 1-13).

Exhibit 1-13
MPISD Administrative Cost Ratio
1994-95 - 1996-97
Year MPISD Administrative
Cost Ratio
Percentage Change
from the Prior Year
1996-97 0.0737 -2.9%
1995-96 0.0759 -3.9%
1994-95 0.0790 -10.1%
Source: TEA, Computation of Administrative Cost Ratio, 1993-94 - 1996-97.

Exhibit 1-14 compares MPISD's administrative cost ratio to that of its peer districts. MPISD has the third-lowest rate among its peer districts.

Exhibit 1-14
MPISD Administrative Cost Ratio Compared to Peer Districts
1996-97

District Administrative Cost Ratio
Greenville 0.0700
Kaufman 0.0706
Mt. Pleasant 0.0737
Liberty Eylau 0.0748
Terrell 0.0817
Texarkana 0.0933
Kilgore 0.1000
Corsicana 0.1018
Paris 0.1128
Athens 0.1147

Source: TEA, Computation of Administrative Cost Ratio, 1996-97.

FINDING

Before becoming superintendent in 1995, the superintendent served as the district's only assistant superintendent for two years. When he was selected as superintendent, he recommended, and the board approved, the district's organization with three deputy superintendents: one each for Administration and Operations, Curriculum, and Instruction and Technology. In addition to the deputy positions, the superintendent's secretary, who also serves as the district's records manager, the business manager, seven school principals, and the district's public information officers report to the superintendent for a total of 14 administrative people.

While the existing organization has served the district well, it may not be the most appropriate structure for moving the district into the future. MPISD's student enrollment has increased 5.8 percent since and will likely continue to grow if Pilgrim's Pride builds a new plant in the area. While administrators must carry multiple roles in smaller districts, as the districts increase in size, the various district operations require more expertise and time. If progress is to be made and order maintained, functions must be aligned under specialized skilled administrators. By bringing in more technical expertise and creating more focused departments a district breaks the complex maze of duties and responsibilities into smaller bites.

Also, as districts grow, a functional organization develops with specialists directing the various functions. For example, support services such as food service, transportation, maintenance, custodial operations, and facilities management often are grouped together, as are finance and management information services.

MPISD is not organized in this manner. At MPISD, food service is grouped with instructional technology under one deputy superintendent, and personnel is grouped with transportation, facilities, and warehousing under the direction of another deputy superintendent. The same deputy who handles transportation and facilities also is the hearing coordinator for the alternative school.

Instructional and administrative technology support are split with the former reporting to a deputy superintendent and the latter to the business manager who reports to the superintendent.

The regular education program and the special programs are divided between two deputy superintendents.

The organizational roles and reporting relationships in MPISD cause conflicting lines of authority. For example, food service workers report to the principal at each campus rather than the food service director. Another problem resulting from unclear lines of authority is duplication of effort. The number of people reviewing purchase orders illustrates this problem. There also are widely varying levels of supervisory responsibility. The deputy superintendent for Instruction and Technology has 11 direct reports while the deputy superintendent for Curriculum has two.

As district priorities and personnel change, adjustments to department groupings may be needed.

For example, as the district's minority population increases, the need for coordination of special programs, like bilingual education with the regular education program, will increase.

As other senior staff retire, the district needs to be able to attract personnel with experience and skills in specific areas.

Recommendation 4:

Reorganize central administration with two deputy superintendents, one for business and operations, and one for all instructional areas.

After the anticipated retirement of several senior staff members, an alignment similar to that in Exhibit 1-15 would prove more functional.

Exhibit 1-15
Recommended MPISD Organization

recommended organization

Source: MPISD

Business and Operations: Instruction:
  • Food services
  • Transportation
  • Maintenance
  • Business office
  • Facilities
  • Curriculum design
  • Instructional support
  • Personnel
  • Staff development
  • Hearing officer

The recommended structure would eliminate one deputy superintendent position. The deputy superintendent for Instruction and Curriculum would be responsible for curriculum design and evaluation, and the academic programs. Staff development, personnel, and hearing officer responsibilities should be transferred to this position.

The deputy superintendent for Business and Operations would oversee transportation, maintenance, food services, all business functions, and records management.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The superintendent evaluates the structure and grouping of functions. March 1999
2. The superintendent presents changes to the board for discussion and approval. April 1999
3. The superintendent develops alternatives to fill new positions and provide backup to existing positions. May 1999
4. The deputy superintendent for Administration and Operations rewrites and/or develops job descriptions needed to support any changes. June 1999
5. Job descriptions are reviewed by the superintendent and approved. July 1999
6. New positions are included in the budget and approved by the board. August 1999

FISCAL IMPACT

The recommended organization includes additional positions, and the financial impact of adding the positions is discussed in other chapters. The financial impact of eliminating one deputy superintendent is $75,000 (salary = $60,000 and benefits @ 25 percent = $15,000).

Recommendation 1999-2000 2000-2001 2001-2002 2002-2003 2003-2004

Reorganize central administration

$75,000 $75,000 $75,000 $75,000 $75,000

FINDING

The district's management team consists of the superintendent, the three deputy superintendents, and the principals at the eight schools. While there has been no change since 1995 among the superintendent and the deputy superintendents, there have been numerous changes among the principals. At the high school and at the junior high school, each principal is the third in the last four years, at Sims Elementary School the principal is the third in the last six years, and at Corprew Intermediate School and Brice Elementary School, the principal is the second in the last three years.

Frequent changes in key managers often lead to disruptions in program delivery and continuity, transfers of teachers to other campuses or districts, increased communication difficulties, negative messages to parents and teachers about the district's ability to identify and retain leaders, and the management team's ability to work together.

Central office and campus staff, excluding teachers, differ in how they perceive communication between the two levels. In a written survey, 79 percent of MPISD central administrators and support staff agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "An effective line of communication exists between central administration and the schools." Only 52 percent of campus personnel, excluding teachers, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, "Communication between the central office and campuses is good." Thirty percent of campus personnel, excluding teachers, either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement.

Teachers said the communication link was more effective between campus staff and themselves than between the central office and teachers. In response to the statement, "MPISD central and campus administrators regularly communicate with teachers," 48 percent of the teachers agreed or strongly agreed while 43 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed. When asked to respond to the statement, "An effective line of communication exists between teachers and campus level administrators," 67 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed and 25 percent disagreed or strongly disagreed.

MPISD has attempted some team-building efforts in the past three years and has periodically held administrative retreats. But there has not been a planned approach. The management team has no specified regular meetings, but it usually meets at least once a month. The superintendent calls meetings of the principals approximately once a month, but not on a scheduled basis.

Interviews with members of the management team suggest that in the past two to three years, there have been significant differences of opinion about key initiatives or programs that the district was implementing or considering for evaluation. As a result, some programs were implemented in full at some schools and only partially, if at all, at other schools. By not "being on the same page," some members of the management team have had negative feelings toward others.

Some districts use management retreats to develop managers and working relationships among the management team. Ideally, the retreats facilitate program implementation and communication. Each summer in Spring ISD, the district provides administrative training to all administrators above the level of assistant principal. The program lasts from three to five days and involves 125 to 140 people. Each year, the superintendent designates a theme for the training. Recent themes have included site-based decision-making; teaching, learning, and respect; creating the conditions for classroom success; and team building and leadership development.

Participation in such programs requires some advance preparation such as reading articles or books, preparing information for discussion, and researching topics to be studied. The sessions involve both full group meetings and small workshops on specific topics.

At the conclusion of each program, each participant is asked to evaluate the training. The district develops an evaluation tool that covers each section of the program. Participants are asked to rate the quality of the individual presentations, the applicability of the subject matter to their responsibilities, and whether additional information or sessions on the subject would be beneficial.

Spring ISD managers said they looked forward to the sessions and found them both informative and stimulating. Participants said they found the sessions useful in setting the tone and priorities for the year and in emphasizing key areas for the long term.

Recommendation 5:

Evaluate ways to strengthen the working relationship of the management team.

Among the methods that MPISD could employ are annual management retreats, regularly scheduled management team meetings with part of the meeting set aside for small group discussions on key topics, and continued team-building training.

IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES AND TIMELINE

1. The superintendent schedules management team meetings to discuss ways to encourage greater cooperation and interaction among team members. March 1999
2. The team meets to discuss various options and recommends several to the superintendent for approval. April - May 1999
3. The superintendent approves the recommendations and assigns the responsibility for implementing each element to a member of the management team. May 1999

FISCAL IMPACT

There is no fiscal impact associated with this recommendation.