January 7, 2020
Greetings and Happy New Year!
I hope everyone was able to enjoy the winter break, take time to celebrate the holidays, and relax with family and friends. Although we are technically not at the halfway point of our year, the start of a new calendar year always provides a new and refreshing outlook on the teaching and learning that is ahead.
We started this school year under circumstances that we have not had to face in more than 10 years. The State of Michigan had not approved a state budget by our budget deadline of June 30th. Without knowing our state funding going into the 2019-2020 school year, we had to be conservative on staffing levels until we knew actual enrollment numbers and funding amounts. I want to thank everyone and appreciate your patience as we worked through the various staffing needs both instructional and non-instructional.
Fortunately, due to enrollment numbers and state funding coming in as projected, we were able to adjust staffing to address a variety of needs throughout the district.
On the instructional side we added teachers at Haigh, Lindbergh, Oakman and Whitmore Bolles to address enrollment at those schools. We were also able to reinstate the parent and community liaison position at the high schools as well as the middle school ELA instructional coach position. All of these positions help support student learning in our classrooms.
In the Food Service Department we added sixty-four substitute staff members as part of our new food service model. Thirty of those staff members were hired as full-time employees under our new hiring guidelines. All of these new positions are funded by the Food Service budget which is separate from the General Fund budget that funds most of our positions.
With any new program or process there were a few bumps at the start of the year as kitchen staff learned new menus, were trained on new recipes and food preparation techniques, and became acquainted with new team members. I want to commend all of our hard working food service staff members for their continued professionalism and commitment to always providing students with quality menu options. Their hard work is at the heart of the success of this new program. Many of us received positive comments regarding the menu options being offered and student participation rates have grown by 26%.
Our Operations department lost several quality people this past summer due to retirement or other opportunities. This allowed Mr. Wall to restructure the Operations Department making it more user friendly and efficient. The new structure was also a cost savings to the budget due to changes in job classifications and salary structures. The reorganized Operations department is set up as follows:
Mark Andrews – Director of Operations
Matt Osinski – Grounds, District Trades and Labor Supervisor
Gary Schilbe – Plant Operations Manager
Mike Belcher – Construction and Contracts Manager
John Leacher – Health Safety & Security Supervisor
TBD – Transportation Director
We are very proud that our own Dr. Youssef Mosallam was selected as the Superintendent of neighboring Crestwood School District. We know Dr. Mosallam will be successful in his new position and I look forward to working with him as a fellow Superintendent. Just before the break, we learned that Ms. Linda Lazar, Principal at Howard Elementary, will also be moving to Crestwood as the new Director of Human Resources.
We are sorry to lose these dedicated professionals who have given so much of their talents to the children in Dearborn but at the same time we recognize the opportunity that they have been given to further their careers and meet new challenges in their professional lives. We wish them both the very best and much success in their new endeavors.
The departure of Dr. Mosallam has allowed me to do some restructuring a bit earlier than planned. This past year I discussed with the Board of Education a plan that would reorganize our Cabinet in order to bring more emphasis to our special populations. In our district, half of our students are English Language Learners and there are more than 1,800 students receiving Special Education services. In addition, we also have a need to provide educational opportunities to those students who are working above their current grade level and require additional academic challenges.
In order to address those needs, I am excited to announce that Mr. Mike Esseily will be our new Executive Director of Special Populations. Mr. Esseily is currently the Director of Special Education. In his new role, Mike will continue to oversee Special Education but now he will be able to coordinate the efforts of that department along with the work being done by the English Learners and Compensatory Education department. He will also oversee Adult Education and Gifted & Talented programs.
Reorganizing in this manner will bring a new and focused attention to the needs of our students who are part of these special populations. The reorganizing of the Cabinet and our Operations department will also result in an overall savings of more than $300,000 to our general fund budget. We have also reduced one full time Director position on our Cabinet in order to maintain fiscal responsibility as individuals on cabinet picked up additional duties.
I want to express my most sincere appreciation to all of our staff for the efforts you consistently put forth to meet the educational needs of our students. Your caring, passion, and professionalism creates a bond with students that enables them to succeed in the classroom but even more important to succeed in life. On behalf of the Board of Education and our entire administrative team I want to thank you for being a part of the Dearborn Public Schools.
I look forward to the second half of our school year and all that lies ahead in 2020.
Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D.