The presidents of two Toledo Public Schools employee unions blasted a performance audit of the district, saying a first draft released Wednesday was riddled with errors and used inaccurate data.
Private consulting firm Evergreen Solutions’ draft report offered 169 recommendations, including cuts or efficiencies it said would save the district $100 million over five years. Union leaders at the presentation offered tepid reactions.
By Friday, after further review, the heads of the teachers’ and administrators’ unions dismissed most of the report as faulty.
“The entire performance audit lacks credibility with me, considering the fact that many of their recommendations were based on false information and or incorrect data that was provided to them,” said Kevin Dalton, president of the Toledo Federation of Teachers.
Evergreen Solutions has said the report presented to the Toledo Board of Education and public Wednesday was only a first draft, and asked board members and district staff to respond with corrections by the end of the week.
The company then would make corrections the next week and issue a final report. But Don Yates, president of the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel, said the report — at more than 500 pages — is too long and has too many inaccuracies to fix in a week.
“The expectations that the district correct the inaccuracies in seven days is, quite frankly, not realistic,” he said.
Linda Recio, president of Evergreen Solutions, did not return a call Friday requesting comment.
Among the report’s recommendations were: increase the ratio of special-education students to staff, cut 15 assistant principal positions, cut 21 clerical staff positions, and eliminate nine psychologists.
The audit finds the district overstaffed in those positions, using several local and Ohio districts as benchmarks, as well as state staffing requirements and the district’s union contract language.
Both Mr. Dalton and Mr. Yates criticized Evergreen Solutions for using building enrollment data from 2010, which is before TPS converted to K-8 buildings, a shift that caused some schools’ enrollments to change drastically.
“I’m disappointed because they’ve made recommendations based on bad data, outdated data, and misconceptions,” Mr. Yates said. “That’s disturbing to me.”
Mr. Yates also criticized the report for using state-recommended ratios for school psychologist staffing levels, which he said ignore the district’s higher-than-average number of special-education students. He said the report significantly understates the district’s special-education rates.
In addition, Mr. Yates said the report inflates the average pay of assistant principals by about $20,000 a year.
Beyond the financial claims, Mr. Dalton objected to the report’s contention that instructional leadership at TPS buildings had been ceded to teachers, and that principals had been relegated to managers.
Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.
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