The long search process finally came to an end as the Springfield Board of Education approved a three year, two month contract for Jennifer Gill, Springfield Public Schools’ next superintendent.
Gill’s first day will be May 1, which she says will give her time to get acclimated.
“I’ll have (interim superintendent) Dr. (Robert) Hill with me so that I can really talk to him throughout the process… hear what he’s talking to the board about… use some days to come and really learn and grow along with the staff,” Gill said to reporters after Tuesday’s meeting.
She’ll be paid $195,000 annually, with raises up to the board’s discretion based on performance.
Meanwhile, the district’s fiscal year doesn’t start for several months, but the school board is already starting discussions on how to trim a deficit that, this fiscal year, is running about $2 million.
Interim Superintendent Hill asked board members to think about what type of budget they want to craft this year: one that continues to run a deficit, one that’s balanced, or one that runs a surplus.
The unofficial consensus amongst most board members was that any further cuts can’t affect classroom instruction.
Gill already has ideas — and says further school closures and consolidations might be necessary.
“We can’t rule anything out at this point,” says Gill. “Instead of saying closing, it would be something where we would want to weigh the benefits of what we would do for those students, that they have something better on the other side of that situation.”
Hill says if current spending levels continue into the next fiscal year, the district could face a $4.7 million shortfall. The figures don’t include cost cutting measures that have already been discussed, such as altering the high school schedules.