The Wichita school district has operated with a deputy superintendent far more often than not over the past 50 years, so let’s not be so quick to condemn the move inviting internal applications for a post that hasn’t been filled in more than a decade.
But while not condemning, we’ll also acknowledge the timing is unfortunate.
Teachers continue to work under last year’s contract. They will receive a raise once a mediator brings their union and district together after an impasse was declared. The union is asking for a 5-percent raise, the district is offering 3.75 percent, and both sides have offered increases in step, tracks and longevity pay.
Until the raises come, their frustration is understandable for a position that would likely pay more than the $131,000 average for four assistant superintendents last year. United Teachers of Wichita president Steve Wentz asked the school board not to consider applicants until after a new teacher contract and a determination in the spring of state funding for 2018-19.
It’s a reasonable request, but don’t mistake putting off the job for not eventually filling the job. First-year superintendent Alicia Thompson, also a first-time superintendent, has determined that a top deputy is important to the district’s upper-level success. That’s her prerogative, and given that the district has often had the job filled, she should be afforded the same courtesy as many former superintendents.