Purnell’s Job Eliminated

Ron writes: “For the second time in less than a year, Dr. Laura Purnell has been advised that her job is being eliminated. Unlike last time, she has decided not to fight the decision. In a letter issued today by the acting superintendent, Bobby Thompson,sent to all central office staff and principals, Dr. Purnell stated that she will be placing her home on the market and looking for opportunities elsewhere.”

I can’t find anything about this in the way of news coverage. Can anybody confirm this?

02/15 Update: Sarah Barry confirms this in today’s Progress.

10 Responses to “Purnell’s Job Eliminated”

  • I have heard this, too, from two reliable sources. I am sorry that it lookls like we will be losing a talented administrator who knows her stuff and acts in very concrete ways to create a productive learning environment for kids, particularly those who are struggling.

  • Just found this on NBC29s site


    In an effort to free up more money for next year’s budget, Charlottesville city school leaders are looking to get rid of one of the division’s top positions.

    Acting superintendent Bobby Thompson says he is recommending the board eliminate the position of director of comprehensive school improvement. Dr. Laura Purnell holds that position. Purnell’s salary is a little more than $100,000 a year.

    This recommended cut comes in addition to the planned elimination of twelve and a half teaching positions and five and a half instructional assistant positions.

  • Whatever anyone else says it really is just payback for that letter/email she sent last year (2004/05) and the elected school board we now have.

    Now that the political heat has let up and things are getting back to something approaching “business as usual” where you have things close to the way you might like to have them… management principles suggest it’s time to cut the people you know will be vocally opposed if things get rough (in this case Purnell).

    As for the 12.5 teaching positions and the 5.5 instructional assistant positions… I’m betting none of them are the phys-ed or guidance councilling positions that griffin reccomended cutting. And I’m wondering how Griffin’s suggested (but vocally opposed) cuts last year, compare to these cuts this year? Anyone have the figures?

    I’d also like to point out that these cuts are probably even more necessary this year because we will also still paying for 2 superintendants via that 291k buyout. And I believe I remember a news article where Mayor Brown was quoted as saying, “it was money well spent.” (unfortunatley I can’t find the weblink for it).

  • I am totally surprised at the news. I have read the archived posts on Purnell’s presence in the CCS system, and I have to say that it is a mistake to have Dr. Purnell leave. There are many people who do not really do things to promote student learning, either directly or through supportive activities. I strongly doubt the validity of such attempts to “free up money”-You cannot trade off the engine of a car for fancy features only.

    Sadly when an organization places hopes on those who may not know the system, instead of those who already know the system, the organization is not just losing those talented and devoted people, but also the loyalty of those who stay in the system. I totally feel sad about this.

  • I think Central is VERY top-heavy – I agree that this is the appropriate place to cut – as opposed to instructional/contact positions. Rather than elminate those other many student-contact positions, it would be nice to cut off even more CO deadweight. I find myself in the funny position of saying, when I was a student in the city schools, we had comparable enrollment – higher, IIRC, at CHS – than what the system has now, and, using a very simple metric, we had no need for Central Office II in the basement of CHS to store all the excess middle management. There is also room to cut in the top layer – Lewis (retired anyway) and Miles come to mind. Seems to me that two deputy supers are sufficient: one for instruction/curriculum and one for operations.

    Unfortunately, Purnell, at least according to the scuttlebutt I hear, is not the best person to lose. I do not believe this is whistleblower payback – I think it’s that Purnell’s departure is less likely to create an uproar than Ivory’s. Ivory did come in with Griffin, a month or two ahead of Purnell, so I guess that’s ‘seniority’.

  • Correction: Purnell was hired first, not Ivory.
    Also, if they are cutting Central Office staff, why are they adding 2 more coordinator postitions? We already have 18 coordinators.

  • Dirtmagnet – I didn’t know that – I really thought Ivory came first. Well, then, get rid of Ivory.

  • The bottom line is central office is very top heavy and even with Purnell’s $102,000 savings, it is not enough!
    W.T. Lewis, an outstanding principal at CHS, has come out of retirement (although he still has VSRS income) and makes $75,000 as the Clerk of the School Board.
    Gertrude Ivory’s income is $116,324.
    The director of Hospital Ed, Nancy Artis has a salary of $104,000+.
    The Class Coordinator earns $78,000+.
    A “classified employee” Debra Oder has a salary of nearly $75,000.
    Harley Miles, supervisor of assessments earns nearly $90,000.
    Lacy Peale who does the analysis of the data earns $69,000+.

    The list goes on and on….if the city schools want to “save” teaching positions they only have to look at Dairy Rd. It’s only a matter of time before the city HAS to combine services with the county.

  • hlamant – I think you have seen the future.

    This would not be bad, either. The city does a lot of things well that the county doesn’t do so well – the fine arts, top level AP courses, and Special Education are all a bit better, at least anecdotally, in the city than in the county.

    The CCS demographic problem with SOLs and NCLB are also symbolic of the City’s general issues ever since the non-annexation policy was adopted. The middle moved to the county.

    Duplicate COs aren’t needed.

    Yet another argument for reversion. You also wouldn’t have a GOP County Board, and a Dem City Council.

  • The city schools have ALWAYS done their best for the haves and have nots. (Look at the budget.)
    It’s the kids in the 75% – 93% that are ignored and fall through the cracks. It’s why so many gifted county students pay to go to the CHS.
    Unfortunatly the majority of the city kids are average to slightly below and above average that cause the horrible test results.
    Why should they be motivated to succeed? They are ignored!
    The AP classes and the Sp. Ed. classes are rarely over 15. Check out the size of the general and advanced classes.
    It’s not just the school that does not serve them, their parents are working as hard as they can to keep up with the costs. Most have full time jobs supplemented with part time jobs.
    When the SOL/NCLB scores appear this summer, take note how many city kids are exempt! That’s one way to get accredited!
    Neither a GOP County Board nor a Dem. council is healthy! The county is slowly changing…hope I can say the same about the city!

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