BOE takes action on numerous personnel matters (updated)

Published 8:51 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Chilton County Board of Education made numerous personnel decisions Tuesday regarding transfers, resignations and employees for positions in the school system.

The board voted on recommendations regarding transfers of certified personnel (effective 2014-2015) after conducting public hearings with two elementary teachers at Thorsby School, Amy Barnett and Suzy Jackson, who requested hearings regarding their proposed transfers.

Board vice president Jim Shannon read statements before each hearing stating the superintendent would recommend to the board that Barnett and Jackson be transferred as elementary teachers at Thorsby School to other schools in Chilton County.

The statement said Barnett and Jackson would work the same term and suffer no loss in pay.

The superintendent gave Barnett and Jackson written notice of the recommendations and notice of the conference, and both Barnett and Jackson requested the opportunity to address the board on the recommendations for their proposed transfers.

Chilton County Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden read the following statement during each hearing establishing the reasons for his proposal of transfer: “Thorsby School has experienced a loss of teaching units for the 2014-2015 school year. After non-renewal of non-tenured teachers and reassignment internally, it is necessary to transfer tenured teachers. Our recommendations are based on seniority at Thorsby High School. If the board does not approve these recommendations, then local funds at Chilton County schools will have to be used and cost approximately $65,000 per teacher.”

During her hearing, Barnett said she would appreciate the board’s support in allowing her to stay at Thorsby, if possible.

“The reasons that I do not feel like I should be transferred are first and foremost because I love my school,” Barnett said. “I have worked there for six years. My three children also attend Thorsby High School.”

Barnett said she offered to serve as Thorsby’s varsity cheerleader sponsor this year, and she was concerned her transfer would result in a heavier workload for other teachers at the school.

“It’s nothing against Jemison Middle School,” Barnett said. “I will happily go there if that’s where I have to go, and I will do the best job I can do there.”

After Barnett spoke, board members were allowed to ask Hayden questions.

Board member Curtis Smith asked Hayden if the workload would change for the other teachers if Barnett were transferred.

“There may have to be some reconfiguring, no doubt about it,” Hayden said.

Board member Pam Price asked why the transfers were based on the number of years the teachers had served at their current school rather than their total number of years in the Chilton County School System.

Hayden said he and Assistant Superintendent/Personnel Director Willie Mae White spent several months going over personnel and determined “the best for Thorsby School and all our schools is to transfer three elementary units.”

Price asked if the board was following its policy and procedure manual.

“There is an overabundance of elementary teachers at Thorsby School,” White said. “We have three teachers that are floaters (intervention), so those teachers can pick up the load.

“It was implied that it was done unfairly, and it was not. The Student First Act far outweighs the Teacher Tenure Law, and this was implemented in 2010 effective June 2011. Our policy manual is out-of-date. We can’t go by that policy manual because state law supersedes that policy manual that we had done and is being revised.”