The state’s moratorium on multi-year teaching contracts is set to expire July 1, pushing the board and administration at Clinton City Schools to make a decision about employment options for local teachers.
During a Tuesday night board meeting, administration recommended the board offer all teachers, with the exception of those who have tenure status, a one-year contract, beginning in August for the 2018-19 school year.
According to Terrace Miller, assistant superintendent for human resources, beginning with the 2018-19 school year, the district had the option to offer teachers a one, two or four year contract. For now, Miller said the administration was recommending a one-year contract for those teachers who do not have tenure status.
“There is just so much uncertainty regarding continued employment,” Miller said. “Maybe at a later date, when the state works out all of the kinks, we can come back and readdress this decision. At that time, we may feel comfortable offering our teachers a two- or four-year contract.”
All teachers who are employed with Clinton City Schools and have been since before 2013 are classified as a tenured teacher. They will keep that status, provided they remain in the district. If they choose to leave Clinton and move into another district, they will lose their tenured status, according to Miller.
While board chair Carol Worley didn’t say she was against having one-year contracts, she did express concern for those teachers who have been teaching a couple of years and the district is pleased with their performance.
“What about our teachers that have been teaching with us for three years and we are pleased with their performance,” Worley questioned. “What can we do about them? Can’t we offer them a multi-year contract?”
Miller said after the upcoming school year, once the state has had a chance to revisit the contract issue, the administration and board with Clinton City Schools could look into changing its policy and how it offers contracts based on merit.
“We should be able to offer contracts based on performance,” Worley shared. “Not everyone deserves the same thing.”
Board member Georgina Zeng expressed her concern with teacher retention if the board was only offering new teachers job security for one year.
“Wouldn’t it be more enticing if we can offer more than one year to our teachers,” Zeng stated.
According to Miller, teachers who are leaving Clinton City Schools are mainly leaving because their spouse has received a new job or been transferred to a different location. Teachers, she explained, are not leaving because they are unhappy or dissatisfied with Clinton City Schools.
“Many of our teachers today are so mobile, that a one-year contract doesn’t scare them,” Miller explained.
Prior to 2013, North Carolina teachers had one-year contracts until they completed a four-year probationary period, at which point they would receive “career status” or tenure.
Having career status did not prevent teachers from being fired, but offered greater protection and job security than other professions. At that time, lawmakers were concerned that having tenure was preventing ineffective teachers from losing their jobs, and pushed the new law into effect with the hopes of eliminating teacher tenure.
Beginning July 1, teachers who don’t have tenure status, but have been employed with the system for three or more years can receive a contract of one, two or four years. While the law states that multi-year contracts can be given if the teacher has been evaluated as being proficient under the state’s teacher evaluation system, CCS has opted to only issue one-year contracts for non-tenure teachers.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.