by Terry Rogers
On Monday, July 20, Milford School District Board of Education voted to approve two new administrative positions. The first position is an Equity and Diversity Leadership position while the second is a Public Information Officer position.
“I met this week with the new State Equity Officer, Jim Simmons to talk through how we can increase awareness of equity and access as well as how we should approach it as a district for all of us in the community,” Dr. Kevin Dickerson, Superintendent, said. “What we are looking for is a specialist or supervisor which would give us a really good lens on diversity. We serve a very diverse district and we want to be sure we serve all members of the community fairly.”
Dr. Dickerson explained that the district gave a supervisor back to the state last year and that there is Title I grant funding available for such a position. There is some concern about enrollment this year which is currently 298.9. At 300, districts are provided additional positions. However, with uncertainty about enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some concern unit counts may be lower this year.
“I’ve read through this and I think it is obviously a needed position,” Board Member David Vezmar said. “The only thing that concerns me is that it encompasses a lot of skillsets. You are asking for different supervisory skills, data lead. I just want to be sure we don’t create a position that we are looking for such a wide range of skillsets we water down the important ones.”
Dr. Dickerson explained that the many skillsets actually overlapped each other and that it was determined that the skillsets listed would work well in a human resources capacity to ensure that the district is hiring a diverse staff.
“I want to commend you for talking this initiative,” Board Member Rony Baltazar-Lopez. “I do suggest that if you are seeking bilingual although it does not have to be required, it needs to be preferred in order to offer good communication. We also want this person to review disciplinary policies to ensure fair and equitable discipline for all students.”
The Board of Education voted five to two for the new position with Board Members Kris Thompson and Jason Miller voting against the proposal.
In addition to the Equity and Diversity Leadership position, the Board also agreed to create a Public Information Officer position.
“We’ve talked about this position for quite a few years,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We really feel the need to have a public information officer and we do have funding sources for the position.”
Dr. Jason Peel, Director of Human Resources and School Climate, explained that the position would require an individual who has experience with communications, which would include press releases, articles, branding and social media.
“Some of the things we have been paying for, we can bring in-house,” Dr. Peel said. “They would keep up with the website and handle social media. It would be more than just posting on social media, but understanding when to post and using campaigns to promote the district. It would be more like communications and marketing.”
Dr. Dickerson stated that the biggest part is celebrating the students and the staff.
“We want to shine a light on the good things our kids are doing and our staff members,” Dr. Dickerson said. “We want people to know some of the awards they get and the impact they have on our community. With the school opening process, we need really good communication and I feel now, more than ever, we need a position like this.”
Baltazar-Lopez, who is a Public Information Officer, suggested that because Dr. Dickerson is the spokesperson for the District, that he approve any message issued. The position will be paid the first year using CARES Act funding and may use academic excellence units to cover the cost in future years.
The new position passed six to one with Jason Miller the only dissenting vote.