News

Palo Alto Unified associate superintendent gone, position eliminated

Superintendent: further 'significant restructuring' is ahead for district office

Palo Alto Unified Associate Superintendent Markus Autrey, the district's second-in-command who was hired just 18 months ago, left the district at the end of December, district officials confirmed to the Weekly Monday.

Autrey was terminated under a provision in his contract that states the employment agreement may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the parties, according to Scott Bowers, assistant superintendent for human resources. His last day was Dec. 31, Bowers said. No public announcement was made of his departure.

Superintendent Max McGee described the decision as a cost-saving measure made in response to the district's ongoing budget deficit. He gave Autrey six-month's notice last summer, McGee said, just after the district discovered it was facing a multimillion dollar budget shortfall and starting to search for places to save, although the superintendent made no mention of it during numerous school board meetings to discuss the budget problems last summer and fall.

Autrey, a former Los Gatos High School principal, was hired to replace Charles Young, who resigned in 2015.

McGee said Autrey's termination was an administrative decision that he informed the school board about but ultimately made himself.

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The district's chief student services officer, Holly Wade, and directors of elementary and secondary education, Barbara Harris and Sharon Ofek, respectively, along with McGee are absorbing Autrey's responsibilities, the superintendent said.

Eliminating the associate superintendent position will result in savings this school year of about $100,000, McGee said. Autrey, with annual compensation totaling $216,000, including a $450 per month car allowance, was the third highest paid administrator after McGee.

McGee said he does not intend to fill the position and, given the ongoing budget deficit, said further, "significant restructuring" of the district office is ahead.

Autrey's is the only district office position being eliminated midyear, McGee said, but he will be making recommendations to the board on further cuts this spring. A budget workshop scheduled for Feb. 14 will likely be moved up to Feb. 7 to discuss 2017-18 budget proposals. McGee said he is also eyeing a proposal to bring a consultant in to help the central office become "both more effective and more efficient."

"We're not going to have as many district office positions next year as we have this year," McGee said.

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Palo Alto Unified associate superintendent gone, position eliminated

Superintendent: further 'significant restructuring' is ahead for district office

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jan 17, 2017, 8:59 am

Palo Alto Unified Associate Superintendent Markus Autrey, the district's second-in-command who was hired just 18 months ago, left the district at the end of December, district officials confirmed to the Weekly Monday.

Autrey was terminated under a provision in his contract that states the employment agreement may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the parties, according to Scott Bowers, assistant superintendent for human resources. His last day was Dec. 31, Bowers said. No public announcement was made of his departure.

Superintendent Max McGee described the decision as a cost-saving measure made in response to the district's ongoing budget deficit. He gave Autrey six-month's notice last summer, McGee said, just after the district discovered it was facing a multimillion dollar budget shortfall and starting to search for places to save, although the superintendent made no mention of it during numerous school board meetings to discuss the budget problems last summer and fall.

Autrey, a former Los Gatos High School principal, was hired to replace Charles Young, who resigned in 2015.

McGee said Autrey's termination was an administrative decision that he informed the school board about but ultimately made himself.

The district's chief student services officer, Holly Wade, and directors of elementary and secondary education, Barbara Harris and Sharon Ofek, respectively, along with McGee are absorbing Autrey's responsibilities, the superintendent said.

Eliminating the associate superintendent position will result in savings this school year of about $100,000, McGee said. Autrey, with annual compensation totaling $216,000, including a $450 per month car allowance, was the third highest paid administrator after McGee.

McGee said he does not intend to fill the position and, given the ongoing budget deficit, said further, "significant restructuring" of the district office is ahead.

Autrey's is the only district office position being eliminated midyear, McGee said, but he will be making recommendations to the board on further cuts this spring. A budget workshop scheduled for Feb. 14 will likely be moved up to Feb. 7 to discuss 2017-18 budget proposals. McGee said he is also eyeing a proposal to bring a consultant in to help the central office become "both more effective and more efficient."

"We're not going to have as many district office positions next year as we have this year," McGee said.

Comments

Bob
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 9:44 am
Bob, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 9:44 am
37 people like this

Given Autrey's salary, and his short tenure--begs the question of why he was hired in the first place.


Wow
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 10:04 am
Wow, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 10:04 am
28 people like this

Wow. Both for the boldness to do this and for the cheek to say nothing to the public. Can the consultant teach McGee about public institutions and transparency, or is this board finally up to it?


resident
Midtown
on Jan 17, 2017 at 10:15 am
resident, Midtown
on Jan 17, 2017 at 10:15 am
19 people like this

The positive side of this is that the superintendent is looking at budget reductions which does not involve "front-line" personnel like teachers, support staff in the schools, etc.

The superintendent could have, and should have said he would be looking at budget reductions in the district office in the budget discussions during the summer and fall (I'm okay about not mentioning specific positions, because it's would give those affected in the district office an opportunity to find another position without the publicity).


Ickabod
Escondido School
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm
Ickabod , Escondido School
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:17 pm
37 people like this

$450 a month for car allowance?? For what? Running around the massive metropolis of Palo Alto? The IRS-allowed $.56/mile for his own car isn't enough? And was this supposed to pay for his gas and expenses to and from the office as well? Why wasn't he expected to pay for that on his own like normal people? No wonder everyone around here is always so ticked off at PAUSD.


Unneeded
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm
Unneeded, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm
29 people like this

Is an associate superintendent even really necessary??

This district is top-heavy with administrators. Consider this the first in a line of budget cuts!


retired guy who follows the schools
Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm
retired guy who follows the schools, Barron Park
on Jan 17, 2017 at 12:53 pm
21 people like this

Never a picnic to be put out of work so all best to Markus Autrey and also kudos to Max McGee for the "restructuring" if he follows through.

But holy smokes, do we REALLY need to hire and pay a brand new "consultant" to get the District house in order? Isn't that what a high-paid administrator like the Supe is supposed to be able to figure out??!

I'm just saying...


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2017 at 1:27 pm
23 people like this

This newly appointed assistant was obviously superfluous to requirements since the position is now eliminated.

Now are there any other made up positions without work or responsibilities which can also be eliminated to save the District money?


Former admin
another community
on Jan 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm
Former admin, another community
on Jan 17, 2017 at 2:25 pm
33 people like this

District office reorg is long overdue. However, when, if ever, are the classified employees who work there going to have input into the process? Those folks know more about the workings of the administration than anyone. Many have lived, and might I say trained, up to 5 or 7 administrators as they have cycled through their various positions. They know the furniture, the air conditioning, the politics, and mostly the personalities that make up the DO. They are smart, talented, and wise. Their opinions are rarely sought. All of the changes will affect them immensely. Talk to them. Listen to them. You might learn a lot.


Samuel L.
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm
Samuel L., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm
14 people like this

Please let's release Bob Golton. He "retired" in 2004. Yet, he's been on the payroll since then. In 2014, he received nearly $140K in salary and another $215K from his pension. (Yes, he paid into his pension, I know). His sole job is to work on the projects from the bond measure. I would think that after 12 years, PAUSD would have been able to hire someone, or train a current employee, to do this job at a fraction of the cost.

I'm sure there are many other administrative jobs that can be eliminated. Anytime I go over to the district office or to the main office at Paly, there are far too many people standing around. I would bet every school in the district could eliminate at least one admin position.


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