Richmond County schools will start the 1997-98 term with 23 new principals, another school using uniforms and a fully approved budget, trustees decided Tuesday.
The massive switching of principals and assistant principals, approved 9-0 with one abstention, highlighted the shortest school board meeting in two years, which lasted just 12 minutes. Trustees met in committees for 30 minutes beforehand.
"This is to strengthen the school system," Dr. Larke said. "Nobody is going to be receiving any kind of pay cut. ..This is not considered demotion."
Under Georgia law, a state employee has been demoted, legally, if he has a loss in pay, prestige and responsibilities, board attorney Pete Fletcher said. So, while some of the changes approved Tuesday moved people into jobs with lesser duties, they are considered transferred.
Dr. Larke also cut three jobs from the system, all consultants or coordinators for teachers assistants or social services, saying he needed to cut more administrative jobs to put more people in classrooms.
Trustee Jeff Annis abstained from voting on the lengthy list of principal changes but there were no questions or disagreements from the board. Among the surprise changes are:
"Her probation is up and that's why I'm bringing her back," Dr. Larke said of Ms. Byus.
Ms. McGee is being reassigned not long after a confrontation with school police chief Maj. Mike Farrell about a Westside student found at school with a gun. Dr. Larke insisted Tuesday, however, that incident played no role in his decision to move Ms. McGee.
"You don't look at one situation, you don't look at one date in time," he said. "I looked at the entire two year period at Westside High School and I felt a change was needed."
Trustees also approved 9-1 their $165.8 million budget for fiscal year 1998, having changed little about the mammoth document after several budget hearings. Trustee Barbara Padgett voted no.
Trustees voted 10-0 to change the way it buys textbooks, approving a policy introduced in May, and said yes to a request by C.T. Walker Elementary School, a magnet school, to join the school uniforms program this fall. Wearing uniforms is voluntary at the schools in the pilot program.
Pupils at Graham and Hephzibah Elementary schools in fall will have a shift in the school zone that determines which school they attend, trustees approved Tuesday. McBean Elementary School, a new school, will open in December, drawing children from the combined zone, which now stretches to Blythe and the Burke County line.
Children who live east of Peach Orchard Road will attend Graham Elementary in August, then move to McBean Elementary when it opens. Children who live west of Peach Orchard will attend Hephzibah Elementary. A new, larger zone for McBean Elementary will be drafted for the 1998-99 term.
Changes in school leaders approved Tuesday:
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