State and county actions draw city board opposition
by DELANEY WALKER Banner Staff Writer
Oct 15, 2013 | 4327 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three resolutions opposing one county- and two state-originated proposals were approved by the Cleveland Board of Education Monday night.

All three affected educators within the school system, with one in particular potentially affecting the relationship between Bradley County and Cleveland.

Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff read the resolution before breaking down the details for the board.

“Basically, what this does is ... allows the county to give their school system a one-time gift and not give, which in our case would be a third of, Bradley County’s appropriation to Cleveland City Schools,” Ringstaff said. “Therefore, the way it is written it could maybe tie into buildings.”

Based on the Public Chapter’s current writing, Bradley County could hypothetically give its school system $10 million for construction without giving CCS a third of the funds.

Ringstaff also reminded the reason a third of Bradley County’s school-related funds are appointed to the city system is because Cleveland residents also pay Bradley County taxes.

The resolution listed the fears felt by the school board concerning PC 305: being more subject to political pressure rather than fairness; not meeting the state’s past test for fairness; facing unlimited potential for growth; and promoting many more potential lawsuits between cities and counties.

Steve Morgan pointed out it appeared PC305 is a “side-step” law.

“That is exactly what it is,” Ringstaff agreed. “[They] have promised this will be the first bill cleaned up; we just want to say we are watching.”

He added he did not believe the bill was initially supposed to be written the way it was. The resolution will be sent to state Sen. Mike Bell, state Rep. Kevin Brooks, state Rep. Eric Watson and a variety of education associations.

Board members likewise opposed the Tennessee State Board of Education’s changes to the minimum salary schedule, as well as TSBE’s action that implements teacher licensing reforms for August 2015.

Members unanimously agreed changing the minimum salary schedule, “reduces the value of experience and advanced degrees.”

The previous salary scale listed the minimum salary scale for teachers up to 21 years. The new scale only has four pay levels to be delivered over the course of 11 years. Higher degrees are not given the same regard as the old pay scale allowed.

All board members agreed, “... advanced degrees and years of experience are paramount to success of a teacher in the classroom.”

The new teacher licensure reform ties test scores to an educator’s effectiveness. School Board members agreed, “that standardized testing is one measure of a teacher’s overall performances and should not be given more weight than the many other factors that contribute to a teacher’s effectiveness.”

Morgan said he felt the changes took the authority from the local school board and placed it in the hands of the state.

The resolution stated the school board believed it would be more difficult, “to recruit and place high-quality, well-trained educators in hard-to-staff subject areas and to attract and maintain excellent teachers.”

This resolution will also be sent to representatives and educational associations.