The Jefferson County Board of Education has approved a plan to add over 70 assistant principals to elementary schools to relieve administrative work-loads that many school counselors were forced to pick up.
“What we did is we took a half-a-counselor funding away and applied it onto assistant principals,” said JCPS board member Linda Duncan.
The $3.5 million proposal was approved at this week’s board meeting, where several principals showed support. The plan will partly be funded by re-directing financing for half-time counselor positions to assistant principals for elementary schools with over 400 students.
“They needed the extra half-counselor because one counselor was always spending so much time acting as an assistant principal,” said Duncan.
Fairdale Elementary counselor Cheri Warren said despite losing a part-time counselor, the benefits of gaining help with administrative tasks outweighs the costs.
“Personally I like to maintain the counselor relationship with the staff and the students and their families, as opposed to the principal. That’s two completely different roles and it makes it difficult even when I’m out of the building. There’s no other leadership here to assist the principal,” said Warren.
Not all schools use their part-time counselor funds for the positions. Some have already redirected that money to finance other positions to relieve certain administrative workloads.
“My SBDM [School Based Decision Making Counsel] had never spent the half-counselor money on a half counselor,” said Deb Amchin, counselor for John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary.
The board’s action Monday night is being called a win-win for schools struggling to juggle administrative duties and keeping counselors in classrooms.
The final budget will be approved in the fall.