School panels to consider attendance policy, staff cuts

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Potential policy changes involving student attendance and work-force reductions will come up at Richmond County school board committee meetings Tuesday.

Board members will hear a plan to have schools use staff and other resources to intervene in the lives of students who have had attendance problems. The idea is to cut down on truancy cases that head to juvenile court by working with students and parents earlier.

Previously, students with five or more unexcused absences were ordered to appear in court, where the cause of the problem was addressed.

The system's reduction-in-force policy, which was last revised in March, also is slated for discussion at today's committee meetings, which are set to start at 4 p.m. at the board's Broad Street office.

Board members are being asked to give the superintendent greater flexibility in factoring in a worker's effectiveness and overall job performance "as a key component of reduction-in-force decisions," according to a memo from board attorney Pete Fletcher to board members.

The current policy calls for work-force reductions in the following order: attrition, temporary employees, part-time employees, retired employees, non-tenured teachers and then those who are tenured.

Meanwhile, recent proposals for a four-day school week or longer school days in Richmond County will have to wait. School board member Alex Howard said Monday that with Superintendent Dana Bedden out of town today he'll hold off on the ideas for now.

Both proposals -- designed to cut operational costs -- would be considered for next school year.

Howard has said he prefers adding 20 to 25 minutes to the school day -- thus shortening the school year by a week or two -- to the four-day plan but would likely present both ideas either at the board's Feb. 16 meeting or at a meeting next month.

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avidreader 02/09/10 - 07:03 am
"Board members will hear a

"Board members will hear a plan to have schools use staff and other resources to intervene in the lives of students who have had attendance problems." For God's sake, people; wake up. Let's replace the word "staff" with "parents". Teachers are under so much pressure these days -- the uncomfortable kind of pressure -- and the last thing WE need is to be involved in a surrogate role for wayward children. I am a nurturing, professional educator and my students are a big part of my daily life. However, I have to draw the line somewhere, and parenting these children is way beyond the boundaries. The BOE already has a solid plan for absenteeism, but it appears to be a ruse. Why not force neglectful parents to take responsibility for their children and leave us alone so we can teach and tackle the usual stack of paperwork?

TruthJusticeFaithHope 02/09/10 - 09:08 am
avidreader, that was well

avidreader, that was well stated. Teachers and school staff can do something, but not everything. Look at the entire waste of time and money currently involved in the attendance problem... certified mail notices mailed to parents and juvenile court. Juvenile Court STOPPED dealing with attendance shortly after Herbert Kernaghan Jr's death. He was chief juvenile court judge. All of the current effort is worthless. It is a paper trail only. The papers are not even read... they are filed. Board Meetings always generate ideas... but the best ideas come from the people dealing with the pupils and parents directly. Juvenile Court gave up, and the Department of Juvenilie Justice has greater priorities. If all parties did a little... some improvement would occur... but basing the truency and delinquency problem resolution in the schools is inadequate. Parents who don't care are the biggest problem. And, once teens become unruly, it is too late. Stop wasting time putting the responsiblity on Teachers and staff and make the entire State System... and to a lesser extent, all adults accoutable for children's issues and safety. Someone cannot do everything, but everyone can do something.

deekster 02/09/10 - 10:39 am
Laws are for people obey the

Laws are for people obey the law. The lawless have no standard. When lawless people are in the majority, chaos reigns. There are no enough police, jails or judges to cure this illness.

Fiat_Lux 02/09/10 - 02:51 pm
I like the idea of shortening

I like the idea of shortening the school year a lot more than going to a 4-day week. It make much more sense.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 02/09/10 - 03:27 pm
It may "make sense" to you,

It may "make sense" to you, but it does not save enough money in transportation costs, lunchroom costs, lighting and HVAC costs, and substitute teacher costs. It's time to face the music and do some serious cost cutting. The 4-day school week is a good starting point to achieve some real savings fast.

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