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Not all school districts slashing employees

Some systems hiring new teachers, while others renewed all teacher contracts

POSTED: May 18, 2009 11:36 p.m.

Neighboring school districts report only a few teachers’ contracts were not renewed for next school year and some districts are actively hiring teachers.

To allow school systems more time to prepare personnel expenses, which make up the majority of systems’ costs, the General Assembly extended the traditional state deadline for school certified employees such as teachers from April 15 to May 15. Many systems, including Gainesville and Hall, stuck to the original April 15 deadline and notified teachers of their 2009-10 school year employment status by then.

In the roughly 6,000-student Gainesville school system, 20 full-time teachers’ contracts were not renewed and 45 contracts were not issued to part-time teachers or to teachers who were in the process of earning their certifications. Gainesville schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said the system is now in a position to rehire three to five teachers whose contracts were not renewed and employ them at Gainesville Middle School.

In the Hall County school system, which enrolled nearly 26,000 students this year, 100 certified employees learned in March their contracts would not be renewed. And about 18 system paraprofessionals will be terminated at the school year’s end.

In April, Hall County schools Superintendent Will Schofield said the system may be able to rehire as many as 20 teachers who received notice they would not be offered a contract for the 2009-10 school year.

A similar situation has played out in Forsyth County, similar in size to the Hall County system.

Forsyth County schools Superintendent Buster Evans said the system did not renew 10 teachers’ contracts for next year. Also about 20 early education paraprofessionals will not be returning to the system this fall. But Evans said the system of about 32,500 students is now determining whether it may need to rehire some of those employees.

“Quite frankly, I could also end up saying it may very well be that every one of these people end up coming back as we have an opportunity to figure out how to extend the stimulus money from the new administration,” he said.

And with five new schools opening in August in Forsyth County, Evans said the system plans to hire 25 to 50 new math or special education teachers.

He said he projects the system’s enrollment will grow 4 percent this upcoming school year, but the district will have less personnel to handle the growth than they had this year.

“Our class sizes in some areas will go up, but when you spread that across 35 schools, even if you can only squeeze out one position per school, that will end up saving you 35 to 40 teachers,” he said.

Hall County schools didn’t experience the growth that had been anticipated, so too many teachers were hired.

Gwinnett County Public Schools had no teacher non-renewals this spring, according to Gwinnett Board of Education spokesman Jorge Quintana. He said the roughly 154,000-student system has already hired 150 new teachers for the next school year, and is still in the interviewing process to hire about 250 more special education teachers and high school math and science teachers.

White County schools Superintendent Paul Shaw said the 3,840-student White County system had no teacher non-renewals this spring and has already hired four new math teachers.

Angela Robinson, personnel director for Habersham County schools, said the system had no non-renewals as well. She said the district has already hired three new elementary and two new special education teachers and is still searching for six more teachers to fill high school graduation coach and special education teacher positions.



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