By ASHLEY AMASON
The Walton Education Foundation presented scholarships to assist educators in pursuing masters degrees in educational leadership at the July 19 Walton County School Board meeting. Executive Director Cindy Wade presented scholarships to Rodney Free, Wendy Crozier and Rachel Carroll. Superintendent Carlene Anderson announced Seaside Neighborhood School has been designated a high achieving charter school.
The first item of business was a request to approve the redistricting map in Walton County. Anderson said, “I will recommend approval through resolution to accept the redistricting map that has been recommended by the Walton County redistricting committee.”
Board member Mark Davis motioned to accept the recommendation. Board member Dennis Wallace gave a second and added, “I would like to commend the committee…” Chairperson Sharon Roberts echoed the sentiment. “I know it wasn’t an easy task, and I want you to know we appreciate your efforts.” The motion passed unanimously.
Anderson recommended advertising the 2011-‘12 budget for a hearing Aug. 2 and final hearing Sept. 13. Chief Financial Officer Jim McCall said, “The budget itself is $16 million less than last year. It’s $95, 973,000…the millage [did] change, but it did not change much. The total millage rate is 5.011 mills. The required local effort [rate] changed. It is 2.690 mills. It was 2.476.”
The total millage is less than last year, when it was 5.07 mills. The request to advertise the budget carried without opposition.
Davis said of Terry Miller’s retirement, “I don’t know if there is a finer human being in this world. He worked for this district for over 40 years, and probably had a bigger influence on me personally than any other teacher I ever had. I just wanted to thank him for 42 years of service.”
Human Resources Director Sonya Alford summarized the implementation of Senate Bill 736 known as the Student Success Act. It covers the redesign of administrators’ and instructors’ evaluation process. Evaluations will begin this school year, but compensation will not be tied to the new model of evaluations until 2014-‘15. However, the law requires the district’s appraisal results be reported to the Department of Education by July 1, 2012, which will in turn be reported to the commissioner of education, legislature, and governor by Dec. 1, 2012.
Instructors and administrators will be appraised as highly effective, effective, developing, or unsatisfactory, based partially on a student growth model established by the state and partially on job performance. Under the Student Success Act, every employee has to be evaluated annually and new hires after July 1, 2011 must be observed and evaluated twice per year during the first three years of service. New hires after July 1, 2011 will not receive advanced degree compensation unless they are teaching in the area of the advanced degree, and the probationary period will extend from 97 days to the full term of the annual contract.
The district will develop two salary schedules. Those working for the district before this fiscal year have the option to be grandfathered in to the existing pay schedule, whereas new hires are automatically placed on the new salary schedule.
By 2014-‘15, the district is required to ensure that all students have an assessment to measure mastery of content, which will be used to determine student growth and half of an instructor’s evaluation. If an employee has two consecutive years of unsatisfactory ratings, or earns the rating two out of three years, it is considered just cause for termination.
As the board approved student handbooks for South Walton High School, Maude Saunders Elementary, Paxton School, and the Walton Career Development Center, Davis cautioned, “South Walton [High School] needs to look at their discipline things, because they’re really inconsistent with the code of conduct…Just the attendance policy is not near consistent with last year’s code of conduct. So they just need to go back and clean it up.”
The board denied the request to repaint an employee’s vehicle which was allegedly keyed while parked on district property, four-to-one. The district’s insurance company denied the claim, noting the district had no liability as the vehicle was not required to be parked on district property. Roberts was in favor of granting the employee’s request.
The board approved the contract with Energy Education Inc. in this meeting, but The Herald was unable to obtain the details of the contract before the paper went to press.