A new division of ‘Central Office Effectiveness’

Central office spending has been a hot topic during the fiscal 2012 budget season. An opaque and confusing proposed spending document released earlier this year suggested continued growth, displeasing parents in the many schools facing cuts. DCPS says that outlays will actually decline by $3.5 million, including a reduction of 66 positions.

Despite the shrinkage, at least one segment of the central office bureaucracy--the Office of Human Capital (OHC) headed by Jason Kamras-- will create three new jobs in the coming year. They include a $125,000-a-year chief of staff and a $120,000-a-year director for a new “Central Office Effectiveness Division The new unit, which will expand to an unspecified size over time, will join the four other divisions in the 125-person office, which has a budget of roughly $20 million: Recruitment and Selection, Teacher Effectiveness, Principal Effectiveness and Human Resources. For HR, Kamras is also looking to fill a newly created post of manager for strategy and innovation ($85,000).

Kamras, principal architect of the IMPACT teacher evaluation system, said in an e-mail that he wants the central office effectiveness head to revamp the central office evaluation system, implement professional development and career ladders and bring more consistency to pay and management practices.

“I’m looking for someone who has experience building culture and improving systems in large, complex organizations,” he said.

Kamras said that despite the difficult budget environment, the new jobs are warranted.

“I’ve cut significantly from the Office of Human Capital over the past 6 months in both personnel and non-personnel services,” Kamras said. “These three new positions, which will leave us with a significant net cut to OHC, are designed to help us more effectively [serve] our employees.”

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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