After Thursday, most Gainesville school system teachers won’t have to wonder anymore if they will have a job next school year. The system will be issuing 457 contracts on Thursday to system staff and educators. Despite that high figure, it may not include 24 part-time employees and 12 non-certified teachers who are expected to not have their contracts renewed for next school year.
"The legislature has not passed a budget as of today," Merrianne Dyer, school system superintendent, wrote in an e-mail to employees on Tuesday. "Without more information, the system will not issue contracts to the identified (part-time and non-certified teachers). Our hope and expectation is that this group can be reconsidered for employment when we have information upon which to budget in a responsible manner."
Georgia school systems are required by law to notify employees of their employment status by April 15. Because the school system does not anticipate receiving the state’s budget by that date, system administrators are offering contracts to employees based on estimations of state funding.
Although the majority of school system employees will be offered a contract to retain their position, their exact salaries are still up in the air.
"The state salary scale for teachers is set and approved by the legislature. At this time, we do not know the salary scale," Dyer said in an e-mail to teachers. "Therefore, we have incomplete information on which to issue contracts. Because of this, the contracts issued on Thursday guarantee only a salary based on the state minimum salary schedule."
The contracts also include the possibility of a local supplement to state teacher salaries, although "it is anticipated that it will be less than last year."
According to Dyer, the school system expects to have the state minimum salary schedule and budget by the end of April. After reviewing the school system’s budget, projected local ad valorem revenue and deciding upon a local supplement for teacher salaries, if feasible, the school system will offer contracts to some of those employees who do not receive one on Thursday. By the end of May, administrators hope to be able to offer contracts to those employees who are left in limbo after Thursday.
Hall County teachers will get their contracts after the school board’s April 13 meeting. On Monday, the Hall County school board approved the wording for nearly 2,000 teacher contracts that guarantee teachers’ pay according to the state’s minimum salary schedule.
Hall County schools Superintendent Will Schofield said he is hopeful the system will be able to pay teachers a local supplement, but it may carry a 2 percent to 3 percent pay cut for teachers and all system employees for the 2009-10 school year.
"We fully anticipate giving a local supplement," he said Monday. "And if we had to guess now, we’d guess that’s between 7 and 10 percent."