Staffing study contract awarded

By Kim Walter

The Shenandoah County School Board approved staff’s recommendation to award a contract to the Virginia Association of School Superintendents to conduct a staffing study.

The study has been a topic of discussion since earlier this year. Originally, $30,000 was budgeted to cover the cost of a study, but the work done by the association should cost about $12,000. The study consists of two parts, a base bid and addendum.

The base bid includes research, analysis and recommendations regarding administrative staff at schools and the division’s central office in comparison to comparable, competitive school districts.

Similarly, the addendum consists of comparisons to comparable, competitive school divisions for all staff with respect to career ladders, salary schedules, staffing formulas and salary placement and advancement procedures.

Results of the staffing study will provide critical information for the successful implementation of the School Board’s goals, as well as the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan, according to Mark Johnston, acting director of human resources.

“This information will also inform the work of the action teams of staff, students, parents, and community members that have recently formed to support these same efforts,” he wrote via email.

The quote from the association was for $8,500, plus customary travel expenses. In its proposal, also identified a potential need for additional research around salary, which is why the School Board approved up to $12,000 to cover extra costs if that is deemed necessary.

The association’s bid came in much lower than the other from MGT of America, which asked for almost $60,000 to cover the base bid and addendum.

The association has offered its consulting service, the Educational Services Review Program, since 1996 when it conducted a comprehensive review of the Alexandria City Schools for the division’s new superintendent. Since, the review program has conducted 65 studies in Virginia.

The association is currently under contract and working on studies for Henry County Staunton City public schools.

The association specifically referenced 10 other similar studies to that requested by Shenandoah County.

According to the association’s proposal, the review program is distinguished by a high level of focus on understanding both the key strengths and potential areas for improvement in the areas of school division operation they evaluate.

In addition, all of the association’s studies are custom designed to meet specific needs of school divisions.

According to the proposal, work will begin immediately. The association plans to present a report on its findings to the School Board no later than Dec. 31. By completing the study by the end of the year, the School Board will be able to use suggestions and data in preparing the 2014-2015 budget.

Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or kwalter@nvdaily.com