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Called school board meeting called off
Tuesday morning was expected to put the reduction-in-force into a more understandable setting with a called school board meeting by the BOE, who was expected to offer contracts to educators.
But that meeting never happened and it may be next month before school system employees truly know their futures.
Following the administration’s March 9 recommendation, the board agreed to a March 17 meeting at 8 a.m. That session, however, was cancelled Monday afternoon at 2.
“Administratively, we have some unforeseen circumstances we have to deal with before we can ask the board to pass contracts,” Superintendent Whit Myers said Tuesday morning.
Myers said he contacted school board chairman Lindy Sheppard Monday about the conflict and he and Sheppard agreed to cancel the meeting. School administrators and other board members then were notified by e-mail at approximately 2:30 p.m. about the change.
The next regularly scheduled monthly board meeting will be April 13. Only time will tell whether another called board meeting is on the horizon.
“We may have a called meeting or we may not before the next board meeting,” Myers said. “Anytime you are dealing with personnel, you are dealing with some sensitive issues.”In a system-wide mass e-mail the day after the March monthly board meeting, Myers wrote that, as an administration, “We do plan to get contracts out to you before spring vacation.”That now is in jeopardy since spring break is planned for April 6-10.Currently, educators must be notified by April 15 if they will not receive a contract renewal for the upcoming year, but possible new legislation from state lawmakers could push that deadline back to mid-May.Also, on Tuesday, Rep. Edward Lindsey (R-Atlanta), chairman of the House budget committee on education, reportedly said officials should consider furloughing
The local administration plans to eliminate 28 and a half positions through reduction in force. Five of the position reductions are expected to be that of administrators -- a 26 percent decrease in administration.
“We have made huge cuts in administration,” Myers said. “We are going to regret it before it is over.”
Among the administrators to publicly announce their retirements at the conclusion of this school year are SCHS assistant principal Sam Thompson and SCES assistant principal Connie Beasley. Those positions are expected to be left vacant in the next school year.
The board projects $2 million in cuts for the 2009-2010 budget. A part of the cuts will be made with the elimination of the
“The goal was to cut about $2 million, but, to be honest, we don’t have $2 million in non-productive teachers, so this has been very tough,” Myers said at the board meeting March 9.
Earlier this month, Myers said as many as three tenured educators whose positions will not be renewed could request public hearings to save their jobs. If the school board votes to retain any of the teachers who go through public hearings, other education positions must be eliminated for the cuts to remain at the $2 million level. The public hearings, projected to happen within the next month, will resemble a courtroom setting.
The school board will have its attorney. The educator can have an attorney present and another attorney will be on hand to serve as a “judge.” The school board will listen to the evidence, then go into executive session and return to public session to render a decision.
While a reduction in force remains in effect, Myers said a week ago that federal stimulus funds will create three instructor/coach positions. One of the instructor/coaches will be at the elementary school. Another instructor also will be stationed at SCES, but will work throughout the school system. The third coach will instruct in the middle and high schools.Myers has reminded school system employees that “based on current projections, we are still about $350,000 away from balancing our budget for next year and we project our cash balance going into the new year to be so low that we could have to borrow money in the fall.”
Although this is the projections for 2009-2010, the superintendent said he thinks the administration has cut all of the teaching positions that can be cut to still maintain instructional programs.