Given the amount of work that will occur under the $695 million school construction levy that voters approved in February, Seattle Public Schools is creating a new department of capital, facilities and enrollment planning, and will hire a new assistant superintendent to oversee it.
“I feel this tremendous obligation and commitment to the voters of Seattle … to make sure that we deliver on all of our promises,” said Superintendent Jose Banda.
Before Monday’s announcement, one assistant superintendent, Pegi McEvoy, oversaw capital, facilities, enrollment planning and a whole host of other areas, such as transportation, logistics, safety, security and child nutrition services.
While McEvoy did a fine job, Banda said, “her span was just way too big.”
Managing capital projects, he said, “is a full time job all by itself.”
Banda said he based his decision in part on two independent reviews, one by the Council of the Great City Schools, and the other by a group of experts from the Puget Sound area.
Banda hopes to hire the head of the new department in the next three to five months. In the meantime, the district has hired Terry Burgess of Portolan Associates, a Georgia consulting firm, as the interim head of the new department.
The announcement marks the first big reorganization that Banda has made since he arrived about one year ago. Banda has long has said he wasn’t convinced that he had all the people in the right seats at district headquarters but until Monday hasn’t made any changes in top roles, except to fill vacancies. He said he may make a few more minor tweaks, but doesn’t expect any more big changes.
“I think we’re there,” he said.
He does still have some important vacancies to fill, including deputy superintendent. Bob Boesche, who has filled that role on an interim basis for several years, is leaving. Banda said Monday that six candidates are in the running, and he expects to make a decision in the next few weeks.