School Board Approves Moving Forward On $290,000 Equity Consulting Contract

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The County School Board voted 8-1 on Thursday night in favor of a $290,000 contract with consultants to help with an equity study.

Officials said there will be no cost to the school system,but it was not clear who will be paying.

Board member David Testerman asked, "How do we know who's going to provide the funding?" 

Supt. Bryan Johnson indicated he is confident that the money can be raised from local foundations and others.

Rhonda Thurman, another board member, she she did not understand why the study is necessary and, if so, why outside experts are necessary. She said students, no matter what their race, could go to any of the county schools unless zoning is a factor.

Ms. Thurman said, "Tell us what the inequities are."

Officials said an equity study committee is meeting regularly and will forward its recommendations to the School Board.

Ms. Thurman cast the only no vote.

In other action, the board heard a report on the progress of hiring and training new teachers.

Officials said over 300 prospects attended a recruiting event in December and over 250 were at another in March. Seventy-five percent of the posted vacancies have been filled.

Of the new hires, there are 26 states represented.

They will go through a three-day New Teacher Academy and will each be assigned a mentor.

It was announced that Westview Elementary won this year's Jump Rope For Heart with Red Bank Elementary second. Allen Elementary won last year.

Over 1,500 students took the online heart-healthy pledge.

Col. Bill Brooks of Central High was introduced as the replacement for Junior ROTC leader Tom McConnell.

Dr. Kenneth Bradshaw, of Augusta, Ga., is the new chief of operations.

Officials said it was agreed in a new pact with the teachers union that there will be a 2.5 percent raise, plus a $250 one-time bonus.The stipend to attend professional development meetings will be raised from $15 per hour to $20 per hour.

The starting pay for teachers will be raised to $40,000 under the agreement.

Justin Witt, who oversees buildings and grounds, said 30 acres has been acquired next to Sale Creek School for a future possible expansion. The property on Roark Road was bought for $700,000.

An agreement with the Sheriff's Department that will provide more SROs, though several school board members said it is still not enough.

Mr. Testerman said, "We should not stop until we get SROs in all of our schools very soon."

A new two-year school calendar was approved with Ms. Thurman again casting the only no vote.

She said the schools should not start in early August, but have a longer summer breaks. She said it is hard on teachers to have "stops and starts" through the school year with frequent breaks.

 

 

 



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