Arcohe Union School District is looking for a new principal to head its sole school, the first time in several years there has been a division between that position and the superintendent’s.
The split is related to changes approved last month by trustees as part of a leadership restructuring they deemed necessary after Superintendent Jim Shock announced his retirement.
Shock will retire at the end of the school year, but will return in the fall on a part-time basis. He currently serves as both the superintendent and principal of the Herald district.
Due to the changes that will take effect this fall, the school board voted to reopen the full-time principal position with a starting salary of $88,531.
The amount is the mean of salaries in Galt, Elk Grove and Lodi, and was voted on by trustees following a salary survey of nearby school districts. Staff found that Arcohe’s original $77,000 annual salary for the principal position was well below the average, according to Shock.
The starting salary for Galt Joint Union Elementary School District principals is $81,826 in the primary grades, and it is $83,774 at the middle school level. Neighboring district Elk Grove’s starting principal salaries are $87,000 for elementary and $97,000 for the middle schools. In Lodi, principals start at $92,000.
Local recruiting and statewide advertising for the position is scheduled to begin next month. In addition to in-depth background and reference checks, there will be an interview process that will include the staff and community, Shock said.
The goal is to have an appointment by May with a start date of July 1. The person hired will also serve as a part-time superintendent, Shock said.
Before Shock started in Herald, there were positions for both a full-time superintendent and a full-time principal.
“When I first got here, I felt that the superintendency could be done half-time by someone with some experience in that role,” Shock said Monday. “The principalship, especially without some form of an assistant principal, is definitely a full-time job, though.”
The new administration structure is expected to save the district as much as $40,000 to $60,000 annually. The savings will be realized when Shock steps into the part-time superintendent role, he said, as a principal will be present and there will no longer be a need for someone to serve as teacher-in-charge when Shock is off-campus for meetings.
At the regular November board meeting, trustees accepted an extension to Shock’s contract.
Starting July 1, he will work half-time as superintendent. For the first six months of that service, Shock will be working for free as required by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.
From Jan. 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016, Shock will earn approximately $39,000 per year, the maximum allowed by CalSTRS, according to a district staff report.
“When I came here, I had been retired for five years but wasn’t enjoying it,” Shock said of the set-up. “I love this job, this community and this school too much to fully retire, but quite honestly, this is my 40th year in the California public school system.”
He says he still has something to offer Arcohe.
“What I am doing is retiring and working for free for the first semester ... this is fine with me,” he said. “I do, and always have, loved my job.”
According to Shock, the arrangement is a bit unusual but not unique, as there is at least one other superintendent with a similar arrangement.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.