Too Many Secretaries?? Needham Public Schools Release Study Findings…

A recent study commissioned by Needham School officials has resulted in findings sure to stir controversy.

According to Superintendent Dan Gutekanst in a recent report in,  the study conducted by Evergreen Solutions evaluated the school system’s resources including finances and the management of support and clerical staff.

Evergreen’s professional consultants were charged with enhancing the effectiveness of Needham Public Schools staffing operations.

The results being released at this time indicate that Needham Schools may be “overstaffed” when compared to other metrowest school systems. Some school officials disagree.

Needham Public Schools are also “overstaffed,” when compared to peer and national standards, according to the report.  Elementary school staffing was particularly noted in this regard.

“When compared to Hopkinton, Natick, Wellesley, Norwood and Westwood, Needham had more full-time equivalent support staff members than any of the other communities at the elementary, middle school levels, and was only surpassed by Natick at the high school level,” concludes the report.

Suggested remedies include using attrition and a complete reorganization of staff and clerical support at the high school, where it was noted that there are more secretaries at Needham High than at other comparable schools.

Parents have come to rely on a certain level of “customer service” and staff reorganization and elimination of positions will almost certainly impact parents’ perception of “service.”

However it is yet to be determined if in fact, service would actually be impacted, rather than the “perception” of service.

Needham Public Schools are currently negotiating a new contract with its support staff, and will be announcing its recommendations as a result of the Evergreen study in January 2009.

School officials also noted that the Evergreen study categorizes all clerical and support staff as “secretaries” and that further defining clerical support from other staff support functions would be ongoing.

Gutenkast also stated that, “No one is sitting around with nothing to do.”

Today’s announcement represents an initial indication of what school officials will be recommending in January, according to Gutenkast.

Gutenkast emphasized that Evergreen’s mission was to make recommendations indicating where opportunities exist to streamline operations.  As such, study results outline where Needham school officials should begin to examine staffing levels, as recommended by Evergreen’s professional consultants.

Evergreen Solutions comes highly recommended.  In business for over 20 years, the firm prides itself on providing “real life” solutions.  Headed by Dr. Linda Recio an educational consultant with over 30 years experience, Evergreen is recognized for providing “objective insights and forward momentum” resulting in increased efficiency and effectiveness for educational systems.  They have a noteworthy client roster.

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