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LAKE GEORGE — Lake George Central School District Superintendent Lynne Rutnik laid out her proposal Tuesday night for what the district’s administration should look like as it transitions to a structure built around supporting students as its enrollment declines.

Administrative personnel decisions became a contentious issue last year after the abrupt removal of Assistant Principal Cody Conley, which sparked an ongoing lawsuit against the district.

The discussion, dubbed a “Community Conversation,” centered on how the district will distribute many administrative tasks, such as curriculum planning and teacher evaluations, across existing district personnel.

“The purpose of looking at the transition, restructuring and reallocation of our resources is to greater strengthen our K-12 alignment around curriculum instruction but also student support services,” Rutnik said.

Rutnik outlined the new structure, saying as student enrollment shrinks, teachers with administrative certifications will not need to have a full load of classes and will be able to spend non-teaching time performing other duties.

These teachers on special assignment will share the load of an administrative position that would be costly and not supported by the community, according to Rutnik.

“The plan is really about using our internal resources,” Rutnik said. “We don’t want to bring somebody on to just two or three years later have to hand them a pink slip.”

The only new position created in the plan would be a part-time dean of students that would mostly handle day-to-day discipline issues.

Most in attendance agreed there was a great deal of effort and attention to detail in the plan, but some had concerns.

Several who attended questioned how the district planned to evaluate whether this structural change was effective and worthwhile, and one person thought there were still too many coordinator positions that should be consolidated.

Lake George resident Bill Dutcher said tough decisions will have to be made as the enrollment shrinks, but cutting or changing things in the district may become be a necessity and should not be taken personally.

“I hope people can keep the emotion out of it,” Dutcher said. “Lord knows we’ve seen it in the last year or two. Change is tough for everybody, and the North Country is not exactly the home of quick change.”

Another resident and graduate of Lake George Junior-Senior High School, Glen Bruening, heard Dutcher’s comments but disagreed.

“Change doesn’t have to be hard if the process is done well,” Bruening said.

Bruening said the way the board handled the removal of the assistant principal position last year was done poorly, and should have resembled the process the district went through with its strategic plan because it was thorough and addressed all stakeholders. He said this meeting was a good start, but every voice is needed to be heard and considered for a change such as this one.

The Board of Education will decide on the proposal at the district’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday.

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Samuel Northrop is the education reporter for The Post-Star. He can be reached at snorthrop@poststar.com.

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