The Transylvania Times -

School Board OKs New Teacher Contracts

 

March 26, 2018



By a 4-1 vote, last Monday evening the Transylvania County Board of Education approved Policy 7410, which calls for teachers new to the county to receive three one-year contracts and then receive a two-year contract if they are in good standing.

At the end of their first two-year contract, they would receive four-year contracts as long as they remain in good standing.

For decades, North Carolina teachers who had taught more than three years in a school system were granted career status, which meant they could not be released without cause and had the right to appeal their dismissal.

Under a recent law passed by the General Assembly, teachers who do not currently have career status would be employed for one, two or four years.

The state legislature gave school systems four contract options from which to choose.

At a previous meeting, school board members Alice Wellborn and Marty Griffin had expressed their belief that veteran teachers, regardless of where they had taught before, should not have to sign three one-year contracts before being offered a multi-year contract.

Board Attorney Chad Donnahoo said that he misspoke at the last meeting in regard to veteran teachers. He said state law prohibits any new teacher to a system from not having to sign three one-year contracts before they could be offered a multi-year contract.

He said the only flexibility the county has is whether or not to provide a multi-year contract to a teacher who had taught here three years, left the county school system and then returned.

Wellborn, who had voted against Policy 7410 at a previous meeting due to veteran teachers having to sign three one-year contracts before being able to sign a multi-year contract, voiced her support for the policy due to Donnahoo’s clarification.

But Griffin, who cast the negative vote, expressed his ire that the state had restricted the choices given to school boards and disrespected teachers.

“The General Assembly has disrespected the teachers of the state of North Carolina, the teachers of Transylvania County,” said Griffin. “I’m furious with the way the General Assembly has treated education.”

Griffin said the school board has just finished hearing about the superb job done by teachers, administrators and other school staff in decreasing the dropout rate to an all-time low, yet teachers continue to be disrespected.

“The four contracts they’ve written, we’ve had to pick one. It’s sorry, in my opinion. The other three (contract options) are even worse,” said Griffin. “We have got to get rid of the people in the General Assembly.”

Instructional Support Staff Ratios

In response to a request made by Wellborn at a prior meeting, school staff presented the ratio of student support staff to students.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff McDaris said the school system has 2.8 social workers, or one for every 1,214 students.

While he said that ratio is not good, it is better than Henderson County, which has one social worker for 12,000 students.

The school system has eight counselors. Each school has its own counselor, except for T.C. Henderson and Rosman Middle School, which share one counselor. The ratio ranges from one counselor for 564 students at Brevard Elementary to one counselor for 92 students at Davidson River School, the county’s alternative school.

The national recommendation is one counselor for every 250 students. The state recommendation is one counselor for every 400 students. The school system also has three psychologists and three nurses. That equates to one psychologist and one nurse for every 1,133 students.

Other positions that are classified as instructional support personnel are media coordinators, speech language pathologists and technology facilitators.

McDaris said the state currently allots money to cover just 16 instructional support positions in Transylvania County.

Since the county has far more than 16 instructional support personnel, local funds are used to pay for those additional positions.

Wellborn said counselors, psychologists and other instructional support personnel play a vital role in keeping schools safe.

“This is the bedrock of school safety,” said Wellborn.

Vice Chair Ron Kiviniemi said the school system should seek additional funding to meet the state recommended ratio of one counselor for every 400 students.

Wellborn thanked administrators for providing “good baseline data” on which the board can base future decisions.

Other News

•The board went into closed session for 45 minutes in a matter relating to attorney-client privilege. No action was taken when the board returned to open session.

•Alana Marshall, a teacher at Rosman High School, was recognized for earning her doctorate degree.

•Elementary schools are now enrolling children for kindergarten for the 2018-2019 school year.

Registration is taking place in each elementary school from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and by appointment.

All children turning 5 on or before Aug. 31, 2018 are eligible to start kindergarten. Visit tcsnc.org/kinder for forms and more information.

•Three students from Transylvania County Schools have been selected to attend the 2018 North Carolina Governor’s School this summer.

Azilee “Grace” Owen of Rosman High has been selected in the area of math; Emily Trusler of Brevard High has been selected in the area of Spanish; and Sara Megown of Brevard High has been selected for clarinet.

Students who accept the invitation will attend a five-and-a-half week session in June and July.

Important Dates

•Friday, March 30, is an annual leave day. Spring break is April 2-6.

•The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Morris Education Center.

•The National Technical Honor Society Induction will be held Thursday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at Brevard High School.

•The Taste of Transylvania fundraising event will be held Tuesday, May 1, at 6 p.m. at the Brevard Lumberyard.

 
 

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