To attract teachers, Columbia County is moving forward with a study to see how its local supplements for teacher salaries stack up to the competition.
Tuesday, school board members gave Superintendent Tommy Price the OK to negotiate a $19,000 contract with the University of Georgia's Education Leadership Department.
Teacher salaries in Georgia are based on a state scale with a base salary determined by years of experience and level of college degree. Local school systems add to the state salary with supplements. With a high demand for teachers, Columbia County wants to make sure it can compete with other systems.
"The forecast for teachers all over the nation is shortages," Mr. Price said. " ... Where we've got to make up the ground is the local supplement."
The salary study will concentrate on metro-Atlanta school systems, such as Cherokee, Cobb and Forsyth counties. It also will look at supplements in Richmond and Aiken counties' school systems, compare teacher salaries with local industries and make staffing comparisons with similar school districts.
Board members will vote on a contract at its Nov. 28 meeting. The study should be completed in February.
In other business, Mr. Price presented a time line for rezoning several elementary schools for the 2001-2002 school year. A proposal should be ready by Jan. 9, with two public hearings to be held before final approval Jan. 23.
School officials plan to add classrooms at three schools and rezone the system's more stable attendance zones to move pupils to schools where more space will be available. Twelve-room additions are planned at both Stevens Creek and Greenbrier elementary schools. A 10-room addition is planned for Riverside Elementary to alleviate its overcrowding and will probably not affect other school zones.
Stevens Creek could be rezoned to take some neighborhoods now zoned for Blue Ridge Elementary, which could in turn relieve South Columbia. The Greenbrier Elementary addition probably will take pupils only from Evans Elementary, but the school system is looking at how much relief rezoning could offer Bel Air Elementary.
However, Mr. Price said, it appeared Bel Air might be better relieved by a new elementary school that is planned along the Columbia Road corridor.