Texas school districts have new superintendents this year. What does the job entail?


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FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM

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School districts across North Texas have new top officials this year after a mass exodus of superintendents in recent months.

The most recent hire, Angélica Ramsey started Wednesday in the role for Fort Worth ISD.

While there has been criticism and dialogue about Ramsey’s $335,000 salary, curriculum and what will be taught in the classroom under the new leader, parents have also asked the question, “What does a superintendent do?”

The contract signed Tuesday night outlines 15 responsibilities for the new leader, including overseeing the day-to-day operations of the district and overseeing compliance with standards for school facilities.

Here are 5 other major responsibilities of school superintendents, highlighted in a guide published by the Texas Association of School Boards:

Creating a budget

With the help of staff across the administration, the superintendent is responsible for submitting a budget proposal to the board of trustees every year for approval, and once passed, overseeing the implementation of that budget.

This includes making recommendations on purchases and working with staff to provide justifications for those purchases.

Districts across Texas are in a precarious position this year, as historic infusions of federal funds near expiration — requiring districts to spend much more than they would in a typical year.

At the same time, falling enrollment and property values set districts like the one in Fort Worth up for a possible decline in revenue in the coming years.

Developing and enforcing policies

The district’s top leader is in charge of creating and maintaining policies across the district with input from stakeholders including committees, legislators and the Texas Education Agency. The board must vote on policies before they can go into effect.

Those policies include a student code of conduct and other disciplinary rules and procedures, as well as policies regarding district foundations, local governance, business and support services, personnel, instruction, students, and community and governmental relations.

The way superintendents gather input can vary from district to district. Ramsey convened a number of advisory groups in her last role as the leader of the Midland school district in order to guide her recommendations to the board.

Day-to-day administration

The superintendent manages day-to-day operations of the district, along with deputy and associate superintendents who act on the superintendent’s behalf. These positions are common in larger districts like Fort Worth ISD, which has more than 70,000 students and 10,000 staff members.

Ramsey said in interviews and during the school board meeting where she signed the contract that she will be spending time on campuses at least twice a week to make this part of her job grounded in what teachers need.

According to the Texas Association of School Boards, the board’s focus is primarily on oversight of management, policymaking, planning and evaluation, while the superintendent’s focus is on implementation and managing day-to-day operations.

Facilities planning

The superintendent leads administrative efforts to plan for, operate, maintain, evaluate and supervise improvements to school and district facilities according to the Texas Association of School Boards.

In Fort Worth, this will include overseeing a $1.2 billion bond issue that will see vast improvements to existing campuses, new campuses built and the creation of new early childhood centers.

Other projects, including a playspace equity initiative, aim t…

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