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home : latest news : local September 14, 2014

4/23/2014 7:30:00 AM
Big job to update school district job descriptions
Sue Tone

Six months of detailed review and revision of every job description in the Humboldt Unified School District - 112 of them - have resulted in updated and consistent job descriptions that are compliant with state and federal regulations.

HUSD Human Resources Director Dan Streeter presented governing board members with 244 pages of the revisions and asked for board approval at its April 8 meeting; the revisions will go into effect July 1.

"In most cases, only minor updates were required. However, there were several instances in which the district was able to update and provide consistency to job descriptions," Streeter's memo to the board stated.

The work began in September, with assistance from a human resource consulting group, the Bagnall Company, which received $18,650 from district reserve funds, said HUSD Finance Director Cynthia Windham.

"The biggest area had to do with clerical. On some campuses when you have turnover in the middle of the year, somebody has got to pick up some tasks. Over time, we found that people kept those tasks," Streeter said.

Also, when a new person steps into a job, someone in the same position from a different school site will train the inexperienced individual.

"A lot of conversations were based on 'I don't do that on my campus' or 'I'm not in charge of that,'" Streeter said. "It's no fault of anyone. People are stepping up and making sure the job gets done. But it skews the duties from one campus to the other."

What was critical, he said, was to sit down with different employees and say, "We know what the old job description said, but what are you actually doing?"

The number of enrolled students at Bradshaw Mountain Middle School led to having one less person in the office, as its enrollment has traditionally been lower than the other middle schools.

"Obviously, the volume of students on campus will have an impact, but you still have all the duties and tasks that have to be done," Streeter said, adding that as enrollment increases in the future, he hopes to fully staff the BMMS office.

This school year, the district expanded two library aide positions to serve as K-8 and high school library coordinators. Together they looked at what the essential duties were and created an accurate job description, although the duties at the high school also include textbook tracking, fines and fees, which aren't a part of K-8 schools.

The district can now conduct a thorough market analysis based on actual job responsibilities, rather than job titles. The additional information is necessary to look at high turnover rate, Windham said.

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