In the reorganization plan presented to the Collier County School Board on Tuesday, Patton eliminated the position of chief administrative officer, which was the job held by Mary Ann Gemmill.
Martha Hayes, the other administrator who came from Rockford, Ill. to Naples with Thompson, left the district last month to become assistant superintendent for the Rockford Public School District.
The elimination of Gemmill’s job is just one of the changes in Patton’s arsenal, which she said will save the district more than $100,000.
Patton did not have an exact figure for the savings because the district has not filled all of its vacancies. But, she said those being hired in the district should not expect the salaries that came with the hiring of Hayes and Gemmill, who were paid $180,000.
Patton said the only two positions eliminated were Gemmill’s and the deputy chief administrative officer’s position, which is currently held by Allun Hamblett.
Hamblett has resigned from the district for personal reasons.
Patton said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that she has been looking at efficiencies since she took office June 1. By consolidating some functions, closing out positions and streamlining others, the district was able to save money, she said.
By downsizing the human resources department, for example, Patton was able to move some resources into other needed areas, including creating a director of competitive grants and charter schools position and an assistant superintendent of school operations position, which will be held by former Gulf Coast High School Principal David Stump.
In addition, the district will be hiring a second attorney to reduce the expenditures it makes to outside counsel, and the district’s communications services department will absorb some of the district’s community engagement efforts, including volunteer services.
“We are looking at how we can better function. How we can work more efficiently,” Patton said.
Board member Pat Carroll praised Patton for making the changes and using current Collier County School District employees in the restructuring process.
“These are people we know, with proven track records,” she said. “She has been sensitive to the needs and concerns of this community.”
Patton said she made the changes she did in the first six weeks in order to give principals and schools a chance to become comfortable with the new structure before school starts.
Patton said the district will also look at transportation, food services, business services and other departments to see how those areas of the district can be realigned.
Board members praised Patton on Tuesday for her thoroughness and her willingness to answer board member questions before the plan was presented Tuesday evening.
“I really appreciate the time to be able to reflect upon the changes,” Board member Kathleen Curatolo told Patton.
Curatolo said Patton did a great job with the reorganization of the district, the changes in the principal positions, and the communication with the board and the public in her first six weeks in office.
“The communication has just been exceptional,” she said. “I never felt staff hiring was a realm board members should be involved with, but I appreciate the request for our opinions and I appreciate receiving purposeful reasons for the changes.”
The organizational chart detailing the changes will be posted online at www.collierschools.com on Wednesday morning.
Connect with K-12 education policy reporter Katherine Albers at www.naplesnews.com/staff/katherine-albers/.