The Chattooga County Board of Education met Monday night in their regular monthly work session meeting. The meeting’s main event was a presentation by the Chattooga County Educators Association (CEA). The purpose of the presentation was to develop a positive rapport with the Board Members and to be a support process for all personnel by presenting ideas and or options regarding non-renewal and reduction in force. Bobby Cavin was the spokesperson for the CEA. Cavin stated that the purpose of the CEA was to improve working conditions for all public school employees and to help attract and retain highly qualified employees. The CEA took a survey of all teachers county wide last month and they reported the results of the survey to the Board. 71.5% of employees responded to the survey. The survey’s purpose was to get input from county employees on what could be done in order to retain teachers that have been lost due to the reduction in force (RIF). The survey proposed several alternatives to RIF including taking a percentage of local supplements in order to help fund positions that have been lost. Also, the presentation outlined a rubric using a point system that could be used in the decision making process when it comes to selecting employees who will be effected by the RIF. Cavin, CEA spokesperson stated that "the CEA does not advocate RIF," and they want to work with the Board and Superintendent Pullen to retain teachers and to collaborate with the Board to have a fair and just system in which to make decisions about RIF issues. Board Chairman William "Fuzz" Anderson thanked Cavin for his presentation and commented on the teachers whose contracts have not been renewed for next school year due to the RIF. Anderson stated that he was "sorry for it and he wished it wouldn’t have happened. Numbers don’t support our teachers but hopefully something good wills come of it and teachers will come back to work." County school Superintendent Dr. Dwight Pullen commented that the Board was "beginning to get some thoughts on Federal Government stimulus money and they are working to come up with some creative ideas to get people back." He commented that as teachers retire or chose to move from our system that those positions will be filled first with those who have been let go. Pullen commended the Board members for working to be proactive in trying to let teachers who are being let go under the RIF know early so that they can find jobs elsewhere. He also expressed anguish over having to make decisions to let teachers go stating, he has woken up many times at night trying to think of ways to save people’s jobs. Pullen said that we "lost some of the best and brightest teachers and we will be working to get those back." He went on to close by saying that the budget is not approved yet and that stimulus money isn’t approved yet. He indicated that he and the Board will be working together to find creative ways to use money allocated to us through possible stimulus funding in order to save as many jobs as possible.
The Board members met in executive session to conduct the Superintendent’s annual evaluation. AM 1180 News will have more on this story as details become available.
The next Board meeting will be Monday, April 13th, at 7pm at the Chattooga Education Center located at the old Pennville School Building. The public is invited to attend.