Top-heavy Twin Rivers struggles with communication, report finds

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 - 8:02 am

Too many administrators and too little communication among departments were central themes in a Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team report commissioned by the Twin Rivers Unified School District.

The FCMAT report was scheduled to be discussed at the Twin Rivers school board meeting Tuesday night.

In a copy of the report obtained by The Bee, FCMAT notes that Twin Rivers Unified has 622 district office staff for 26,600 students.

FCMAT compared that ratio to three comparable districts: Chino Valley Unified School District has 195 district office staff for 29,000 students, Lodi Unified has 179 district office staff for 30,500 students and San Jose Unified has 363 district office staff for 30,000 students.

The report, which cost Twin Rivers $14,000, served as an organizational and staffing review of the school district.

"FCMAT's interviews revealed an overwhelming sentiment that the district struggles with issues of trust and internal communications," accord to the report. "Several staff members still harbor resentment from the unification and feel an allegiance to their former district."

Among the FCMAT recommendations for Twin Rivers:

• Hire an in-house legal counsel or join a joint powers authority due to the high cost of legal fees and the number of legal issues facing the district.

• Discontinue the use of Strategic School Funding for Results (SSFR) and its ambitious budgeting program due to lack of results.

• Combine the positions of deputy superintendent of educational services, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction and assistant superintendent of school, community and employee relations into one position.

• Review the management structure of the HR division and assign managers with administrative credentials to oversee the certificated personnel department. That recommendation stemmed from interviews with human resources administrators and staff that found no one in the division has a teaching, counseling or administrative credential to legally manage the evaluation and discipline of certificated employees.

FCMAT noted issues with internal communication and ongoing workplace hostility.

"Interviewees noted that some employees do not communicate with employees from a different original district," the report states. "Some employees mentioned they have tried to be friendly to employees from other original districts but stopped when their efforts were met with tension and hostility."

Similarly, the report noted:

• "In one interview, colleagues commented in front of each other that they would not openly discuss certain topics in front of each other because of territorial district alliances."

• "During fieldwork, FCMAT was informed of staff members who refuse to carry out tasks not specifically listed in their job descriptions, who balk at learning new procedures and dismiss the notion of 'Other duties as assigned,' even though that language is in their job descriptions."

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