Demopolis BOE makes personnel moves, shifts two positions to 10-month contracts

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education inched closer to filling all of its vacancies Tuesday during a special called meeting.

The board hired Marykellie Kelley as the new Spanish teacher at Demopolis High School and transferred Annette Gwin from her position as second grade teacher at Westside Elementary School to the Family and Consumer Science job at DHS.

In a related move, the board posted the second grade spot vacated by Gwin under a seven-day emergency posting.

“This is all part of running a school system. We don’t like it this late, but it all works out and it’ll be okay,” interim superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo said of the necessity of making personnel moves just two days before the start of the 2015-2016 academic year.

The board also finalized the transfer of Ricky Richardson from the special education aide position at Westside Elementary School to the same position at U.S. Jones Elementary.

Board members spent the bulk of the meeting discussing the contract structure of career tech teachers. Punctuating the discussion, the BOE voted to shift the Welding and Industrial Maintenance instructor positions from nine-month to 10-month contracts. In a conjoining move, the board will review the job descriptions of all the career tech instructor positions to determine if 10-month contracts are necessary for each.

School administrators spent the summer in search of a welding or agriscience teacher before determining that welding best suits the needs of the system.

“We think that is the most critical need for our students based upon what we’re trying to do in the system,” Costanzo said.

That need was determined in part by an interest survey conducted last year.

“We did an interest inventory and there were between 90 and 110 (students interested in taking welding courses),” DHS assistant principal and administrator over the career tech programs, said.

Costanzo explained his belief that leaving the welding position as a nine-month contract would handicap the board in its efforts to fill the role.

“If we leave it at nine, the probability is real slim that we will secure that position,” Costanzo said.

“I don’t think we can not take care of those children,” board member Linda Russell added in reference to the interest inventory regarding welding.

The welding courses will be taught off campus at the former New Era building, a facility marked to potentially house the entirety of the school’s career tech offerings.

“One reason that I can see them doing 10 months rather than just nine months, is that the classes are at New Era. Right now, there are only four to five classes there,” Sealy said. “There is no need to have a custodian there. The teachers will be there cleaning there own classrooms. And during the summer, there will be maintenance such as moving the equipment and waxing the floors.”

Board members expressed their reservations over the potential of opening a veritable Pandora’s Box by shifting certain teaching positions to 10-month contracts. Costanzo addressed those hesitations from a systemic perspective.

“We have a lot of requests for employees to be from nine months to 10 months. I think, in this case, you need to look at the position and what the responsibilities are. As I look at it, and I know the school looks at it, based on the responsibilities we can certainly justify this being a 10-month position,” Costanzo said. “If we could step back and we could change everything, I would say to you that every position has to be looked at. The pay has to be commensurate with the job responsibilities. In doing that, you would review the job descriptions, which were written in 1985. The other thing is that you look at the salary schedule and you fill in based on that. You have a new superintendent and you can look at that. I would be happy to help in any way that I can.”