Direct Line: Teacher assistants were evaluated by principals in City Schools for part-time, full-time positions

10:29 am | August 2, 2012

Q. What was the procedure used to determine who got the full-time positions with full benefits and who got part-time positions? Would the Elizabethton Star publish the names of the teacher assistants and indicate whether they are full-time or part-time, as well as the number of years of service for each individual? 

A. The Elizabethton City Schools notified teacher assistants by letter, dated May 27, 2011, that their job was being restructured for the 2011-2012 school year due to a revenue shortfall in general operating expenses.

“Beginning in August 2011, all full-time Title I teaching assistants will be moved to regular teacher assistants paid out of one-time Federal jobs money. At the end of the 2011-2012 school year, these positions will no longer be funded,” according to the May 27 letter from John Hutchins, director of federal programs, and Dr. Corey Gardenhour, director of special education services.

Ed Alexander, superintendent of schools, said each school principal evaluated teacher assistants at their respective school. The evaluation guidelines, dated Feb. 28, 2012, considered seniority, commitment/ attitude, retirement eligibility, other sources of income and the individual’s contribution to students at the school.

“The recommendations from each school principal were discussed with each teacher assistant in separate meetings held during the month of March 2012. It is never easy to displace employees or to place full-time employees on a part-time basis without benefits. Strict guidelines were followed by each principal in evaluating and prioritizing teacher assistants for the number of full-time and part-time positions allowed by the budget,” Alexander said.

All 23 teacher assistants were guaranteed at least a part-time position during the evaluation process, according to Alexander. The names of the teacher assistants, whether they are full-time or part-time, and the number of years of service, were not provided to the Star “to prevent embarrassment of them and their families,” Alexander said.

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Submit questions to Direct Line, by calling 297-9066 or sending an email to directline@starhq.com. Include your name and telephone number, for verification purposes, which will not be published. 

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