June 23, 2011
Dear Rockwood Parents and Patrons,
I know many of you read the article in Sunday's Post-Dispatch and/or Bill McClellan's article in Wednesday’s paper. Let me begin by offering my sincere apology for any perception of impropriety caused by using the consulting services of two former colleagues from Minnesota and the hiring of these individuals for two administrative positions. I know you may have questions or concerns about this decision. I'd like to explain:
At the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year, the district was without an associate superintendent and had interim placements in two executive director positions. The Board of Education made the decision not to fill these positions at the end of last school year because they and Dr. Larson agreed the new superintendent should be involved in the hiring of staff for these critical positions.
As a result, I began my first year in Rockwood without a complete team of full time administrators. We have an exceptional leadership team in Rockwood, who willingly performed extra job duties this past year because these other positions were not filled. Dr. Karen Seiber and Dr. Jill Ramsey agreed to serve in interim positions, with the restrictions placed on them as retirees from the state public school retirement system.
Given all of the other work already in place, along with the additional work load for current staff, the Board believed it was important to provide some extra support for me as I fulfilled their expectations in conducting my Listening and Learning Tour and developing an Action Plan for continuous improvement.
The Board decided to allocate funds to me to use in implementing my vision for increasing student achievement in Rockwood. These funds were approved in an open meeting held on Sept. 2, 2010. I chose to use some of these funds for consultants who could assist me in creating the framework for a continuous improvement plan. The two consultants were people with whom I had worked previously. They had a proven track record in providing the expertise and assistance I needed.
The Board was aware of this decision and unanimously approved the contracts for these individuals. The amount of money allocated to these consultants was consistent with monies allocated to other outside consultants.
New Administrative Hires
As far as the open positions are concerned, it was never the Board’s intent to leave these positions unfilled. We were fortunate to use two of our retired administrators on a limited basis this past year; but, we always knew that was for the short term. Mr. Smasal and Ms. DuBois followed an established interview process for administrators that included interviews with parents, staff and administrators. There was no deviation from this established process for these two applicants.
The salaries for these positions were previously established as part of the district's administrator pay plan. Again, the salaries are consistent with past salaries for these positions.
I realize the impact of these decisions and regret the way they have been perceived. My focus for all decisions is on the students of this district and how we can help them be successful. I remain committed to our mission and to working with teachers, parents and our community in support of that mission.
Bruce Borchers, Ph.D.
Editor's Note: This posting is an exact duplication of the letter issued by Bruce Borchers today, and does not reflect any input or edits from the Patch staff.