Friday, June 06, 2008

By the numbers

Todd Gray is the new superintendent of the Waukesha School District, according to a report at

WAUKESHA - Todd Gray will take over as the new superintendent of the Waukesha School District July 1.

Gray, who currently works as the deputy superintendent of business services for the Oshkosh School District, will replace outgoing superintendent David Schmidt.

Gray said he’s is very excited about coming into the district.

For the rest of the story, see Saturday’s edition of the Freeman.

I received a note from Gray yesterday evening somewhat in response to what I wrote in the Waukesha Freeman. Here's part of it.

If I am very fortunate enough to land the Waukesha job, I hope we can have a short chat soon after. I think you will find that I am a pretty good ‘people person’ and very interested in improving education at a reasonable cost. The two large districts I have worked for have shown good student achievement results while spending under the state average cost per-pupil. As for the QEO, I have in fact, made proposals to the state legislature and the Governor on establishing new arbitration laws that would limit compensation packages to an amount the district could ‘afford’ which would be close to the annual per-pupil increase (2.8% to 3% range).

But honestly, the ‘cozy’ WEA thing—Ouch!! That was a one-shot deal to help rates come down…probably 3, maybe 4 years ago…also note that my QEO/arbitration legislative proposal called for making the health insurance provider a permissive subject of bargaining…most folks would consider that not very WEA-cozy.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Mr. Gray.

The challenges you face are many. Over capacity. Mis-aligned budget priorities. A loss of community trust in the school district leadership. A teachers union conditioned to getting its way. A salary table so bizarre it defies common sense. A school board distrustful of the community it serves. Even rough relations with the city. Oh yeah, budget problems, too. You might want to see some spreadsheets and credit card statements right away.

On the other hand, you have a concerned community eager to support change. You have a student body whose test scores and graduation rates are not in a crisis. You have a solid educational foundation to build upon.

You can expect this blog to be a fair critic when you're wrong and a stout friend in your corner when you're right. Good luck.