Grove changing school administrative structure

March 12, 2013

COLUMBUS GROVE — Facing cuts in state funding and a long list of new state mandates, Columbus Grove schools will change its administrative structure to try to address both.

Elementary Principal Jim Kincaid and high school Principal Scott Hummel will retire at the end of the school year. The district will hire a new high school principal, and Superintendent Nick Verhoff will take on the elementary principal duties.

“Losing this much history and experience at the same time with Scott’s and Jim’s retirements pose some interesting challenges,” Verhoff said. “But I also think this may allow the district to explore a different approach in leadership that will both address the fundamental changes occurring in public education as well as the financial changes many school districts face in the state of Ohio.”

Kincaid has been with Columbus Grove for 24 years. Hummel spent nine years as principal before taking a curriculum position with the Putnam County Educational Service Center. He returned to the district five years ago.

Hummel will remain with the district as an administrator assistant. He will work 184 days and assist with new state initiatives, including teacher evaluations, third-grade guarantee, common core standards, Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the new state report card rating system.

As a principal, Hummel currently works 225 days. Despite the additional work coming to school administrators, Verhoff believes the district will be able to handle it.

“Scott has a wealth of background in education and curriculum, and he can provide a great deal of support for the new principal and myself next year,” he said. “I have been an elementary principal for seven years in previous positions, so I am comfortable with that role.”

The change is expected to save the district more than $50,000 a year in salary and benefits. Columbus Grove is not expected to get any additional state funding under the current state budget proposal. Verhoff said with county educational offices losing state money, some costs of services will likely be passed onto districts.

Verhoff will not receive a salary increase for taking on additional responsibilities. He will get an additional $2,300 for taking over as the district’s Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan coordinator. The money comes from federal funding, not the district’s general fund. Kincaid currently does the work.

The district will post the high school principal position this week, and Verhoff hopes the board can approve a hire at its April meeting.

School board president Ned Stechschulte said the board will continue to monitor the administrative structure closely over the next year and make adjustments as needed.

“The board is always open to exploring new processes or procedures that can save the district dollars,” he said. “With that being said, we also want to closely monitor such an innovation to make sure it is having a positive impact on our students.”