Board member questions a teacher reappointment

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 7/3/18

FLEMING ISLAND – Despite a recommendation for approval for the school board’s recent personnel consent agenda, one school board member raised questions about the reappointment of an Oakleaf High …

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Board member questions a teacher reappointment

Posted

FLEMING ISLAND – Despite a recommendation for approval for the school board’s recent personnel consent agenda, one school board member raised questions about the reappointment of an Oakleaf High teacher.

Usually, the personnel consent agenda is voted on and passed in one motion, however, at the June 28 school board meeting, board member Janice Kerekes questioned the teacher’s reappointment and asked if that teacher was using paid leave from the district to conduct business from an elected position he currently holds.

“What I’m addressing is...a county commissioner who is using leave time for his commission job,” Kerekes said. “So, last year at this time, we disciplined an employee who used leave time for a second job and we suspended him for eight days without pay, and I feel like this is our policy on how we handle this issue so we should be consistent across the board with everyone,

Kerekes said she asked for the item to be pulled for discussion because she was not comfortable reappointing this teacher, at least until Superintendent Addison Davis had completed his investigation of this faculty member.

“I’m personally not comfortable moving forward [despite the recommendation to do so by Davis]...while the superintendent is investigating,” Kerekes said.

She then asked how her fellow school board members felt on the subject, to which all of them responded that they wanted to move forward with Davis’ recommendation to reappoint the teacher.

After some heated words between Kerekes and school board member Betsy Condon, who said she felt Kerekes was “way out of line,” a motion was made to move forward with Davis’ recommendation. The school board voted 4-1, with Kerekes voting no.

In other business:

In her report, representative Betsy Reagor – who represents the Clay County Education Association and the Clay County Educational Support Personnel Association unions – was grateful for the district’s new “A” grade from the state. She also announced a new agreement on health insurance.

“Basically, we increased the insurance contribution from about $248 to about $303 per pay period for the instructional and non-instructional employees, so they’re going to receive about $90 a month additional if they take the insurance,” Reagor said.

According to Reagor, this has been nine years in the making.

“It’s taken about nine years to get this increase on the insurance,” Reagor said. “This means that they will not receive as big of a hit to their insurance, because their insurance premiums are just skyrocketing, and some of our employees will actually see a decrease in the amount that they have to pay per pay period, and most of them will see a much smaller increase in that premium than they were expecting.”

Insurance has been a hot topic during school board meetings for years, and not only was that contract signed, the school board also voted to finalize their upcoming year’s property, casualty and active assailant insurance program. During a June 26 school board workshop, representatives from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Insurance presented potential insurance program options for the 2018-19 school year.

One of those options would see the school district continue its insurance program of this past year with some changes to its auto and general liability self-insured retention and worker’s compensation. The former increases from $100,000 to $200,000 and the latter sees $250,000 in excess removed. These changes would reduce the insurance premiums in total by $58,000.

The measure was approved by a 5-0 vote.

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