Glendale Unified's chief spokesman delivers news of his own layoff

In the world of communications, managing bad news is an art form and the public information officer is the artist. For Steven Frasher at Glendale Unified, the practice has included a lawsuit alleging racial profiling and a student suicide.

So Frasher was just doing his job this week when he announced his own layoff.

“As part of the budget constraints being dealt with at Glendale Unified School District, the position of public information officer has been eliminated, effective today,” he said in an email Tuesday. “I will be leaving Glendale.”

In June, Glendale Unified school board members approved $167.7 million in expenditures for 2012-13, which will include $19.5 million in deficit spending. If voters fail to pass a tax initiative in November, the district stands to lose an additional $11.3 million.

Glendale Unified has been taking steps to consolidate and streamline administrative responsibilities, downsizing two elementary assistant principal positions, one middle school assistant principal, a part-time high school assistant principal and one coordinator. The district also moved three of its credentialed high school librarians back into the classroom.

District officials did not respond to questions Tuesday about how much money would be saved by eliminating the public information officer.

The job is traditionally the nexus of external communication for any institution. In a school district, the title holder is responsible for communicating with school families about major issues and for serving as spokesperson to the media.

During his one year in Glendale, Frasher had a visible role in high-profile district news events, including a lawsuit filed by the ACLU alleging racial profiling at Hoover High School and a student suicide at Crescenta Valley High School.

District communications will now be handled by the administrative staff, Frasher said.

-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

Twitter: @megankoneil

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