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School Board Approves Change In Hiring Policy

Members of the Water Valley School District Board (from left) Pierce Epes, Taylor Trusty, Casey Washington, Lamar Burgess, and Dr. Steve Edwards had lunch in the high school cafeteria with Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran last Friday during a recess in their meeting. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – Teachers will no longer keep their jobs based solely on length of service after the District School Board adopted a new reduction in force policy last Friday.

Superintendent Dr. Deborah Moran told the Board that in the past the District’s professional personnel reduction in force policy had been based on tenure or “who was here the longest.”

The new policy takes into consideration the educational needs of the schools. She gave as an example the need for English or a particular subject area over tenure.  “In speaking with Dr. Kitchen it was brought to my attention that keeping teachers based on tenure rather than certification did cause him some difficulty.”

Teachers had to get recertified to cover needed positions, Dr. Moran added. “We would have the opportunity to look at people more so for their expertise and their variety of certifications as compared to (tenure),” she said.

Dr. Moran explained that the new policy is word for word what the Mississippi School Board Association has in their policy book they developed for last year based on the current economic situation.

According to the new policy, the Board of Trustees may abolish or combine job positions; reduce the length of the work year with a concomitant reduction in salary; reduce administrative supplements; or reduce the number of employees.

Initially, staff reduction will be accomplished by attrition, the policy states.

Board President Lamar Burgess asked Dr. Moran if she wanted the board to vote right then or wait until the next meeting. She said that she wanted the board to vote on it so the new policy could be distributed to the schools in December. “We’ll be recommending in April.”

The Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the new policy which is reproduced in full below.

Among other actions at the Nov. 19 meeting, the School Board:

• Approved the claims docket for the month that contained a total of $100,043.54.

• Heard the financial report from District Business Manager Randy Goodwin.

Goodwin told the Board that the total cash balance in the District Maintenance Fund for the month ending Oct. 31 was $323,517.19. The ending fund balance in District Maintenance was $424,136.18.

• Heard the Superinten-dents Report from Dr. Moran.

Davidson Elementary has 631 students out of 711 who have no discipline referrals, Dr. Moran reported. “They are working so hard.”

She also noted that the ADA (average daily attendance) at Davidson Elementary is going up. “They are making phone calls and getting the parents involved.”

She added that the ADA had dropped at the high school.

The full text of Dr. Moran’s report is below.

She also requested that the next board meeting be scheduled for Dec. 16 at noon. It will be the only meeting scheduled for December.

• Entered executive session.

• Ate lunch.

The Board members, Dr. Moran and the Herald reporter ate in the high school cafeteria. On the menu was a turkey, ham, or beef sandwich, chips and a cookie.

• Returned to the Board Room to hear from Leresha Gerard, Administrator of Healthy Me Clinic, who made a presentation to the board.

• Adjourned.


November 19, 2010 School Board Report

This week we signed a contract for JBHM to work with our school principals and teachers for mentoring and coaching for the remainder of this school year. This professional development is funded by ARRA Title I carryover funds that have to be expended by September 2011. This professional development will focus on academic achievement and effective, efficient use of resources.

Month 2 Data has been verified in MSIS. Davidson Elementary ADA is 96.31%, up .05%, Water Valley High School ADA is 92.98%, down 1.46%, which makes our District ADA 94.83%. We are 1.67% below our district goal of 96.5% at this time. Davidson has started a parent contact plan when students are absent and hope to see a continued increase in ADA. Dr. Kitchens has discussed developing a plan to raise attendance at WVHS with me.

Academic achievement is now being analyzed and each school is looking at the data collected. JBHM will offer principals and teachers researched-based resources, information, and support to work smarter not harder to meet the needs of the students they are teaching this year.

Positive note-Davidson Elementary has 631(88.75%) students out of 711 that have NO discipline referrals. This is an 7.75% increase; Water Valley High School has 412(73.25%) students out of 563 students that have NO discipline referrals. This is a 20.25% increase for the second month.

Direct Deposit- More than 100 or our employees have signed up for direct deposit! We are on track to begin in January. I can say that this will make my life much easier.

Progress Reports went out November 11. WVSD will be out next week for Thanksgiving Holidays. The schools and office will open Monday, November 29th.

I attended the MASS Superintendent Network Training last week in Jackson. Patricia Dalton, E Rate Coordinator. She explained E Rate funding and the process for applying for competitive grants. Dr. Laura Jones, Bureau Manager/Director of School Improvement discussed the evaluation instruments developed for “Schools at Risk” but are also available for all districts. She also told us that the second round of SIC Grants would be out soon. I received an email this week and Water Valley School District is not on any of the lists for eligibility. Todd Ivey, Bureau Manager of School Financial Services held a round table discussion on budget planning for ’12. He suggested we look at 5% and 10% cuts. He does not feel that it will be as high as 10% but we will know later when the legislature makes their recommendation. Dr. Bounds strongly urged us to attend the MASS Winter Conference in January. This will be the time to be in Jackson to discuss budget. I asked Randy and Trey to consider attending at least one day when their group will be meeting. The next Superintendent Network Training will be in February.

I also need to add to my report that if we win the game this week we will host Aberdeen if they win. The price of admission will be $8.00 instead of $7.00 as set by MSHSAA. If Belmont wins we will travel to Belmont.

I would also ask that we schedule our December Board Meeting for Thursday, December 16th, at noon. Lunch will be provided at this meeting.

JBHM will be here December 6th at 9 a.m. to Kick-off our Professional Development. Please consider this your personal invitation to meet our team. Principals will meet their coach and the coaches for their site. The teacher coaches will be introduced and then go to the schools. We will be given an overview of where WVSD is and how the coaches will help us get to where we want to be. The principals and their coaches will then be released to go to their school. We will have an opportunity to ask any questions of Tricia Bridges, JBHM MS Director.


School District Instructional Staff Reduction in Force

 The Board of Trustees has the responsibility for providing and maintaining quality schools within the district. In order to carry out its responsibility, the board may: (I) abolish or combine job positions, (2) reduce the length of the work year with a concomitant reduction in salary (the same to be in no event less than 187 days per contract year), (3) reduce administrative supplements, (4) reduce the number of employees. Initially, staff reduction will be accomplished by attrition.

When reducing the number of licensed employees, the board will take into account the following reasons for such reduction in force:

* Enrollment declines,

* Financial decline/reduction

* Educational program(s) elimination, and

* Priority need for human, material and financial resources.

The primary objective of the board when reducing the work force will be the maintenance of a fair and balanced educational program consistent with the needs of the students and the functions and responsibilities of the school district. When deciding reduction in force, the board will consider the following factors, not necessarily in the order listed:

* Criticality of the position to the mission, goals, and objectives of the school district.

* Subject area(s) and advanced degrees by certification.

* Experience, professional training, length of service within the district and work assignment.

*   Quality of performance including the proven ability to accomplishment the educational mission of the school district.

* Executive ability.

* Employee attendance and discipline history.

* Skills and licensure in the area(s) where the district has instructional and/or supervisory

Cross Ref.: MS Code Sections 37-9-101 through 37-9-113 and 37-9-59


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