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Hiring freeze could delay Richmond County technical magnet school opening

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 7:56 PM
Last updated Friday, Aug 31, 2012 7:36 PM
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An ongoing hiring freeze in the Richmond County School System could delay the opening of the technical high school intended for August, Acting Superintendent James Whitson said Wednesday.

Only a principal has been hired at Richmond County Technical Career Magnet School, and the hiring freeze enacted earlier this year would prevent any outside hires.

School administrators could transfer teachers from within the district, but the technical school needs instructors with specific certifications to teach career tracks such as culinary arts and collision repair, which would require hiring from the outside, according to Chief Human Resources Officer Norman Hill.

There are nine teaching positions slated for the school because it will have only ninth-graders its first year. It will add one grade every year.

“Obviously the closer it gets to the start of the school year, the greater effect it has on us,” Hill said.

Whitson said the Richmond County Board of Education would have to approve any delay. The board will receive the budget in June and would also make decisions about how long to extend a hiring freeze.

“The cuts have just been so deep and for so long that we’re running out of any kind of options,” he said.

Construction on the $22 million technical magnet school is scheduled to be completed in June. It will offer six career tracks including engineering and firefighting, and will partner in instruction with Augusta Technical College, where the campus is located.

Board member Jack Padgett said about 800 students had applied by March for the 160 available slots.

Whitson said the hiring freeze is a result of ongoing cuts in state funding. The school system is estimating a $23 million reduction in state funds for the 2012-13 school year, which is about the same as the year before.

The district has been dealing with funding shortfalls by cutting teaching positions through attrition and not filling vacancies for three years, Whitson said.

School officials preparing the budget have already stopped the purchase of textbooks for next year to save $442,000 and have opted to not fill some key vacancies.

“Everything is on the floor for discussion,” Whitson said.

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Tots
26092
Points
Tots 05/02/12 - 08:11 pm
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0
What-was this a build it and

What-was this a build it and we will figure how to fill it later on?
Doesn't seem like very much thought was put into this project.

marie21
5
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marie21 05/02/12 - 10:14 pm
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Anybody know when Richmond

Anybody know when Richmond County teachers get their contracts for next year??

Dr. Craig Spinks.Georgians for Educational Excellence
106
Points
3
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"Everything is on the floor

"Everything is on the floor for discussion," Whitson said.

Do you really mean that, Dr. Whitson?

Would you really discuss cutting the $608K you paid the Fletcher firm in FY11?

And why won't you reveal how much you paid it in fiscal years '04 through '08?

Little Lamb
47219
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Little Lamb 05/03/12 - 07:39 am
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Dr. Spinks makes an important

Dr. Spinks makes an important point. Richmond County BOE's legal fees are way out of hand. They should put their legal work up for bid every eight years or so. Maybe another firm would give them a lower cost. Pete Fletcher's goose just keeps on laying those golden eggs.

Little Lamb
47219
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Little Lamb 05/03/12 - 07:42 am
1
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The school system is not

The school system is not growing. This new magnet school is intended to take students from existing zoned schools. Therefore, they do not need any new state money for teachers. Just transfer teachers. You cannot tell me that there is not one teacher in the system who is capable of teaching culinary arts.

Do they have to provide collision repair in their first year of operation (and for ninth graders only)?

Come on, this article sounds like whining and defeatism. Where is our can-do spirit?

FriedFacts
61
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FriedFacts 05/03/12 - 08:46 am
0
0
Students at the tech school
Unpublished

Students at the tech school will come from existing classes at other schools. They should be downsizing their staffs to account for the decrease in the number of students. The eliminated positions could be used to fill the tech school slots.

FriedFacts
61
Points
FriedFacts 05/03/12 - 08:49 am
0
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You know how lawyers work
Unpublished

You know how lawyers work with clients in personal injury suits and their payment is one third of the settlement if they win? I think Fletcher believes he gets one third of the Richmond County Schools' budget.

Little Lamb
47219
Points
Little Lamb 05/03/12 - 09:26 am
1
0
Let's look at some

Let's look at some numbers:

There are nine teaching positions slated for the school because it will have only ninth-graders its first year. It will add one grade every year. . . . Board member Jack Padgett said about 800 students had applied by March for the 160 available slots.

Nine teachers for 160 students. That's fewer than 18 students per teacher. Sounds like a cushy student/teacher ratio. I'm sure they will have plenty of teachers volunteering to teach there.

Sweet son
10778
Points
Sweet son 05/03/12 - 11:21 am
1
0
Moth ball it untilyou have

Moth ball it untilyou have the money to fund teachers. And that doesn't mean raising RC taxes to cover them!

movingforward
40
Points
movingforward 05/03/12 - 12:05 pm
0
0
What happened to the $16

What happened to the $16 million dollars from the Race To The Top Grant? Is it all gone?

Little Lamb
47219
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Little Lamb 05/03/12 - 01:00 pm
0
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I think the Race to the Top

I think the Race to the Top grant was to go only to underperforming schools. The Technical Magnet school is not underperforming, yet.

gaflyboy
5072
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gaflyboy 05/03/12 - 01:40 pm
0
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"The Technical Magnet school

"The Technical Magnet school is not underperforming, yet."
That had me laughing out loud Little Lamb. Very good!

Little Lamb
47219
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Little Lamb 05/03/12 - 02:03 pm
1
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Well, if Sean had the point

Well, if Sean had the point system up and running, I might have earned a few by making you laugh.

Tots
26092
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Tots 05/03/12 - 05:59 pm
0
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Hi Little lamb-I agree with

Hi Little lamb-I agree with your post at 7:42am..
My thoughts were that the Technical career magnet school and the Augusta State Technical school were to be built in conjunction with each other..So who is really responsible for the hiring and firing of the teachers needed at that school?

HighSociety
1840
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HighSociety 05/04/12 - 02:17 am
0
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Little Lamb, you covered some

Little Lamb, you covered some interesting points, and for that I would've given you a point. :)

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