Santa Fe Public Schools is spending $165,000 to acquire what educational reformers usually don't prescribe for struggling districts: more administrators.

SFPS Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez announced, at the school board's Oct. 4 meeting, the hiring of Leslie Kilmer as associate principal at Santa Fe High School; the district is still looking for a bilingual administrator to add to Capital High School.

The idea is to free up more of the high school principals' time to visit the classrooms, but when he voted against it, board Vice President Glenn Wikle said he would have needed to see a "solid plan" for the administrators' purpose, instead of "some vague notions that this extra administrator will help get more administrators in classrooms."

Board Member Steven Carrillo also voted against the plan, saying he was concerned "whether or not this is the way to get the most bang for our buck relative to our goal of graduating more kids."

Carrillo tells SFR that he felt "very strongly" that that money could have been better used on elementary school reading instruction. But Wikle's concerns weren't limited to whether the money was being used most effectively—he's also concerned at the prospect of "Big Brother" classroom oversight by administrators.

"It's going to be intimidating; it's going to be more top-down instructional management…I think you have to lay out what you expect the teachers to achieve—teachers are professionals; they can figure out how to do it; that's what they're trained in," Wikle says.

Gutierrez did not return a call for comment before press time.