October 17, 2019

Position control – a ‘hidden war’ in the district office

by Sheldon Smith, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent of Business Services at the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education

In most school district and county offices there lies a hidden war that most people can’t see unless they are directly involved. Unlike some issues that emanate from district office staff regarding procedures, “work load,” or interpersonal relationships, this district function has a direct effect upon the school district’s fiscal health complete with its own bureaucratic title: position control.

Managing position control is a bit like managing Newtonian jelly — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction because every change or addition to an employee’s assignment, ancillary duty, step/column change or benefits requires an update in position control. Every stipend, walk-on coach, salary increase related to newly earned college units, longevity anniversary and yard-duty change necessitates an adjustment in position control. Just as staff members churn within or through a school district, position control has to churn with it. The constant movement in positions, duties, salaries and benefits requires focus, making position control management messy work.

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