Fox Point-Bayside eliminating technology director position

District will outsource its technology needs

May 28, 2013

Fox Point — Fox Point-Bayside Technology Director Jim Binney's position will be cut in the coming 2013-14 school year.

Binney was hired in 2012 to work in tandem with Menomonee Falls-based K-12 Technology Group, an outside technology support service with whom the district contracts. In the coming year K-12 Technology Group will provide all technology support for the district, as was the case before Binney was hired, Superintendent Rachel Boechler said.

As technolgy director, Binney has managed the district network, provided technical support, and been a part of the technology planning committee. He said he has also provided hands-on technology training to teachers, though "it's not technically part of my job, but it's something that needs to be done."

Boechler said the move is meant to help close the district's projected 2013-14 budget deficit, estimated in mid-May to be about $370,000 if the state legislature doesn't increase mandated district spending limits in the 2013-15 biennial budget.

"If we were flush with money, (keeping both Binney and K-12 Technology Group) would be a great model,"Boechler said, "but we're not."

Saving teachers may have lead to cut

Binney said he had been assured several weeks ago by the district administration that his position would be safe in the coming year, but Boechler told him Friday that his last day will be June 30. 

"It came as a complete shock," Binney said. "I've only been here one year, but I've grown to really enjoy this school district. (Teachers) have said they never had a better year, technology wise, than this year."

Boechler  said the School Board in March had approved Binney’s layoff as part of closed-session deliberations over a 2013-14 staffing plan. She said the administration told Binney that a layoff was likely, but the decision hinged on the School Board’s actions regarding 10 potential layoffs in the coming year. After a tremendous amount of public outcry at public meetings, the board decided in mid-May to keep seven of the 10 teacher who had been in danger of losing their jobs. 

“We didn’t want to confirm (Binney’s  layoff) until we knew about the other staffing,” Boechler said.

'Abuse of power'

District parent David Braeger, an outspoken critic of Boechler and the School Board, was the first to contact North Shore NOW with information of Binney's layoff. He described the move as "a complete abuse of power" by the administration.

"If our leaders cannot manage a budget creatively enough to keep our head of technology in the age of technology," Braeger said in a statement, "we have a monstrous problem."

Meanwhile, the board has included a part-time teacher, part-time technology integrator position in the 2013-14 budget to help further incorporate technology into the classroom, Boechler said.

As the 2013-14 budget comes together in time for the annual meeting in September, the board will continue to deliberate that position, the details of which the administration is currently putting together.

"We're trying to do some research to bring that back to the board," Boechler said.

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