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Clayton BOE to vote on educator's rights policies

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

The Clayton County School System will once again ask the Board of Education to repeal one educator's rights policy, and fold some of its provisions into another teacher's rights policy, which will be heavily revised.

The board was originally scheduled to take up the issue during a called meeting on July 19, but postponed the topic when some board members balked at the idea of making changes to either policy.

The back-and-forth debate over the policies is the latest chapter in an ongoing saga involving the Teacher's Bill of Rights, which was endorsed by the Metro Association of Classroom Educators (MACE), and the Memorandum of Educator's Rights, which was endorsed by the Clayton County Education Association (CCEA).

The policies were first proposed to the board's now defunct policy committee in March 2007, and committee members, led by Rod Johnson, expressed a desire to merge the two policies. At the time, former board member Norreese Haynes, who was an officer with MACE, said he was willing to meet with CCEA President Sid Chapman to discuss a merger, but CCEA's executive board unanimously rejected the idea. The school board later adopted both policies.

If the board approves the merger currently being proposed by Julie Lewis, the school system's general counsel, the Teacher's Bill of Rights will be renamed "Professional Personnel Working Conditions." It will also lose some sections, such as a teacher's right to representation during a hearing, because those provisions are provided to educators through other board policies.

During a called board meeting on July 25, Chapman said CCEA will keep a close watch on the school system in the future. The association does not want to see school system officials take a mandate from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to remove negative outside influences, and use it to diminish CCEA's influence.

"We will not tolerate the school system infringing upon a teacher's right of association," he said.

The board will also discuss, and vote on, a policy dealing with fiscal management, including purchasing proposals, bids and contracts, and the district's response to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Corrective Superintendent John Thompson will also recommend people to fill the positions of the district's Chief of Human Resources; Chief Operations Officer; Chief of Technology; Chief Financial Officer, and principals at Swint Elementary School and Riverdale High School.