24 teachers won't get new contracts

Teachers who aren't performing won't be asked back to Richmond County classrooms.

"We're not an employment agency," Superintendent Dana Bedden said. "But we're not out on a witch hunt."

Each year, Georgia school teachers must sign new contracts to remain employed, but more teachers than usual won't be offered new contracts, Dr. Bedden said.

The school system is doing a better job of documenting teacher performance, he said, and there have been concerns in the past that principals weren't supported if they tried not to renew a teacher's contract.

About 1 percent to 2 percent of the school system's teaching staff won't be asked to return next school year, Dr. Bedden said.

"We're trying to do a better job of holding people accountable," he said.

Norman Hill, the director of Human Resources, said 24 teachers won't receive new contracts. Some resigned knowing they wouldn't be asked back.

"This year's process focused on ensuring that principals understood that if non-renewal was the most appropriate option following superintendent and HR review of circumstances, that the principal's recommendation would be supported," Mr. Hill said in an e-mail.

Last year, 19 teachers were not extended renewals, he said.

Dr. Bedden has spoken often about accountability since taking over as superintendent in August 2007, and more accountability could be coming.

Richmond County is piloting the Georgia Department of Education's new teacher evaluation instrument. The form is meant to do a better job of measuring and documenting performance.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.