Does Assistant Superintendent Mike Gordon have it too easy?
That was the question brought up at Tuesday night's school board meeting. Scott Ford, a recently retired teacher and former president of the teacher's union, spoke during the public participation segment:
"The administration and the board failed to let Mr. Gordon know at his hiring that he would need to take classes regardless of whether state law required it or not," Ford said. "This would have brought his hiring into line with district hiring expectations of teachers."
Superintendent Wayne Babcanec said Gordon has a valid license and is in compliance with state law. Gordon was first hired under a temporary superintendent's certification, which primarily rested on his prior qualifications. Gordon holds permanent high school principal, permanent elementary principal and permanent superviser certifications.
Last year, that certificate became the alternative administrator's license, which requires 135 contact hours of professional development to renew. Gordon's license will expire in June of 2008, and Babcanec said Gordon is about half-way through his required hours.
"There could have been inequity previously," Babcanec admitted. "There is not now."
Ford said that the issue is the last six years in which the assistant superintendent was not held to the same standard as the teachers he manages. Whatever state law required, Ford said, Gordon should "lead by example."
Ford said his statements had nothing to do with the upcoming negotiations between the teacher's union and the administration. The only suggestion current union president Matt Lark made was adding a mention of the fact that teachers are required to pay for their classes and are given less financial resources to do so.
"I'm a free spirit," Ford said, "a cannon on the deck."
In other news:
The board unanimously agreed to seek bids to replace the windows at the school district offices on Benedict Avenue. Board member John Lendrum suggested that they should consider whether the building is likely to be replaced in the next ten years before they make any final decisions to spend the $250,000 to replace the windows.
Treasurer Kenn France reported the school's budget for fiscal year 2008 is the largest he's ever seen at more than $42 million.
France also reported that the school's five-year forecast is now better than it looked a year ago. The improvement is due to an increase of about $1 million in state funding.
The board discussed removing a line from the district's policy prohibiting school officials from taking leadership roles in booster organizations. The change is brought on by the boosters' organization's plan to incorporate.
Babcanec reported that enrollment is near its 1970 high, which was about 3,100 students.