Board reverses policy

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

VIDALIA &045; A less than

6-month-old policy allowing school employees to retire from their position only to turn around and be rehired was changed to the opposite Tuesday night.

The Concordia Parish School Board changed their minds on last October’s controversial policy, revising it to read &uot;any employee who formally and officially retires from an administrative or supervisory position shall not be considered for any administrative or supervisory positionŠ&uot;

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The retire/rehire issue came to the forefront last fall when Director of Academic Affairs Fred Butcher, Title I Director Julius Huhn and Supervisor of child welfare and attendance Howard Jackson requested retirement and reapplied for their current jobs.

After several multi-hour executive session meetings in the fall, the board released a policy allowing administrators to draw retirement checks and paychecks at the same time.

Each retiree would be subject to review and there was no guarantee they would be rehired. Upon retirement they lost tenure and seniority benefits.

Butcher, Huhn and Jackson were all rehired.

Tuesday night’s decision to eliminate the retire/rehire agreement was due to financial reasons, Superintendent Kerry Laster said.

&uot;I feel we need to look at the cost of every retiree returning to work,&uot; she told the board. &uot;Every parish is having to deal with this, and we’ve been lucky in Concordia Parish to not be in a position (financially) a lot of other parishes are in. I don’t want us to be in that position.&uot;

The policy revision passed the board 7-2 with Mary Campbell and Raymond Riley voting no.

Board President Lynn White said a lot of things had been discussed since the first policy was passed in the fall, and the revision was necessary.

&uot;We didn’t know all that we know now,&uot; White said. &uot;It may be that we moved too hastily.&uot;

The retire/rehire issue was created in recent years when the Louisiana Teacher Retirement System re-wrote existing policies to make retired teachers eligible to come back to the classroom and teach to decrease the shortage of certified teachers. The same policy could be applied to administrators.

Concordia Parish’s new policy does allow administrators to retire from their administrative job and become a classroom teacher.

In other business:

4 The board approved two changes to the policies regarding activity buses. An activity bus can be used by a contract driver if their bus is out of service, but the district owned activity bus cannot be used by the contract driver for more than 10 working days. Also, schools using buses for trips must check with the district to see how many activity buses are available before they hire a contract driver.

4 Laster presented several parish schools with banners for academic growth based on test scores. Vidalia High School and Ferriday High School received Exemplary Academic Growth. Monterey High School, Vidalia Upper Elementary and Vidalia Lower Elementary received Recognized Academic Growth. The title come with a cash reward from the state.