Hall County Horror

And we’re back! Lawyery stuff was just request for information (not from any organization), so no big deal after all for this site.

I am in awe.

In awe regarding how spectacularly badly this entire situation with the Hall County teacher ‘layoffs’ has been handled. First there have been several years of reckless spending – remember how this past budget was “the largest passed in Hall County School System history”?  I mean, how many expensive programs does one system need to try to enact in a two year period anyway…and those things aren’t cheap.   And did we really need a combination high school/middle school??  Apparently we didn’t, since we’re not using it for that now?  Reckless payment of travel supplements and moving expenses for friends and cronies coming from their old systems has contributed to the mess.  How can you defend paying that kind of money to your friends from other areas and then turning around and taking someone’s entire livlihood away from them?  One of the defenses that has been thrown out is that we are not top heavy in central office.  Yet, suddenly we can afford to cut 9 positions from the central office level?   Which one is it?? Are these all people from “Central Office South?”  What district this size has two central office buildings and all of the associated costs with running them anyway?   They will tell you that no one saw this economic downshift coming, but that isn’t entirely true.  Bloggers on the Times site were talking about it over a year ago before the last budget was passed.  It’s true, that a lot of these so called “lay offs” could not have been  avoided, but it could have been a lot less painful for a lot of people if we didn’t have such a bunch of know it all, self-serving types running the school system now.

Someone somewhere else pointed out that this should have been handled as a RIF (Reduction in Force) because honestly that is what it is.  However, the people running the district have apparently decided that they wanted to do this a different way by picking on the people with the least legal recourse.  Is the way they have done this legal?  Perhaps.  It is right and honorable?  No.   If this had been done as a reduction in force they would have been REQUIRED to hire the people that were let go back as the situation improves.  The way they have chosen to handle this puts them under no obligation to hire anyone involved back at any time.  If you believe the rumored line they are giving people “if you resign, we will hire you back” then I have a bridge and some swamp land I’d like to try to sell you.

Another problem for all of you who have been let go is your superintendent has labeled you all as “ineffective” in a public forum.  It seems, as others have pointed out, that by resigning you are admitting this.  What data was used to make the determination that you are “ineffective?”  Are you on a PDP?  Do you have NIs on your evaluations?  Have all of your evaluations even been completed?  Do you have letters of reprimand?  Are your test scores lower than those of your peers?  I’m betting in the majority of these cases, the answer is no.  You are simply being screwed over in order to expedite this process for the folks at central office.  It’s unfair, because there are tenured teachers who may be less effective than you, who should probably be let go, but administrators by and large don’t do the work necessary to get rid of an ineffective tenured teacher.

Here’s a little something you might not realize.  My understanding is anyone who is non-renewed has a right to request in writing from the Superintendent the reasons for the non-renewal.  They will also tell you that you have no right to a hearing in front of the board.  This is not entirely true.  While you do not have an automatic right to a hearing as if you were tenured, a good lawyer should know how to force a hearing. You lose this right if you resign.

I urge you to do extensive research before signing anything or accepting what you are told at face value.  They are counting on your ignorance! They are capitalizing on the fact that you are upset and scared. Check to see if resigning makes you ineligible for unemployment benefits.  Call the labor department and ask.  Resigning really doesn’t do you any good because most employment applications now ask if you resigned in lieu of non-renewal, and if you lie on an application you can lose your certificate.  Go as soon as possible and ask for a copy of your personnel file from your principal and the one kept at Central Office.  You will want that to help dispute the fact that you have been labeled as an ineffective teacher by Hall County.  Remember, if you were truly ineffective, there should be documentation and you should have been fired.

No doubt we will hear plenty of excuses from 711 Green as well as the normal ad hominen drivel, but you all need to be very sure of where you stand  before going along with anything they say.

Good luck to everyone negatively impacted by this.  Please feel free to share your stories here.

What a great example of character and competency for our children.

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279 Responses

  1. Words fail me:

    This came to all Hall County employees from the Asst. Superintendent in response to the layoffs.

    The Student Services Department is interested in providing support and information regarding outside agencies to Hall County Schools’ staff members during these difficult times. Many large companies have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to provide some level of social/ emotional support for staff who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of overwhelming stress. Our goal is to provide similar information and support services.

    One idea is to develop some kind of information clearinghouse for staff that may need to find therapeutic support through the numerous agencies and private providers in our community. We also want to create a regular e-bulletin that will contain information on how to stay grounded and to support your coworkers, as well as to list resources for supporting emotional and physical health.

    We are just beginning to develop this system, so we welcome any ideas or suggestions that you might have. Please remember that we are an extended family and that we are all in this together.

    Some of the topics that may be covered, and services that may be offered are:

    1) Protecting your physical health.
    • Moderate exercise such as walking and moderation of bad habits.
    • Stress weakens the immune system and can lead to physical illness.
    • Sharing walks or exercise with friends or coworkers before or after work.

    2) Turning off the news!
    • Newscasters often thrive on delivering bad news, and they can sensationalize and catastrophize what is already serious.

    3) Feeding your spirit.
    • Nurture your spiritual life in whatever way works for you.
    • Houses of worship are also sources of comfort, strength, and support.

    4) Finding therapeutic support that you can afford. Besides the resources for therapy covered under our health plans, we have many agencies and providers that provide sessions on a sliding fee scale or at a small cost. We plan to provide a list of these local resources.

    5) Depression symptoms – what to watch out for in yourself and your coworkers:
    • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
    • Feeling hopeless
    • Crying spells for no apparent reason
    • Problems sleeping
    • Trouble focusing or concentrating
    • Difficulty making decisions
    • Unintentional weight gain or loss
    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Being easily annoyed
    • Feeling fatigued or weak
    • Feeling worthless
    • Loss of interest in sex
    • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
    • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
    6) Nurturing your family and other relationships.
    • As Americans, one of the obstacles to healthy family life has traditionally been our national obsession with materialism.
    • In crises, there is often an opportunity for personal growth and increased family closeness.

    7) Attending financial counseling workshops.

    8) Attending stress reduction workshops. Several of our Student Services staffers are Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Many school counselors and psychologists have training skills to provide help to staff.

    9) Pursuing healthy and appropriate escapist activities.
    • Consider the many classic ‘screwball’ comedy films of the 1930’s and similar diversions. Laughter has been shown to increase health.
    • Take up a new hobby, fish, swim, get outside often.
    • Creating new things (art, music, dance, etc.) can give you a sense of control.

    10) Volunteer or help a neighbor or friend. Helping others has also been shown to have health benefits, as it tends to make us feel more powerful and connected.

    11) Routines and well-structured days are very important to wellness.

    12) Getting historical perspective: Previous generations have overcome more difficult times, and their coping skills may be of use to all of us.

    13) Participating in a support group at your local school (or in a community setting like a church). Sharing with others going through similar challenges reduces stress and provides great opportunities for connection and information sharing.

  2. Is it an ethics violation to be told to resign in order to possibly be rehired at a later date? On another site it says that the ones that said to resign should be reported to the PSC.

  3. I would think if the possibility were used to try take advantage of someone or coerce them into resigning then yes, I would call that unethical. In the real world outside of education is very against the rules to coerce a resignation or abuse power over a subordinate in this way. At the very least it is just out and out trickery. Not the kind of people I want around my kids or my tax money, I don’t know about you all.

    Report all the people who have said that (if they did) to the PSC and find out. What have you got to lose at this point? Your jobs? Your standing as an effective teacher? Those things have already been taken away from you.

  4. Two Schofield Statements:

    3/4/09
    Schofield said principals reviewed their non-tenured staff to find the teachers who were least effective.
    http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/15645/

    3/9/09
    “When you have 3500 employees there are some performance issues,” Schofield said. “Certainly a large percentage of these this year were not, it was just the fact that we have to do more with less next year.”
    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=218476

    Will the real Will Schofield please stand up?

  5. LOL post of the day from somewhere else:

    Love how the Hall County Super is all gracious all of a sudden.
    “we will allow the children of the laid off to remain in their
    schools”. What a champ! We don’t want you on our schools but we still want the FTE money your kids bring in. Jerk!

  6. What about this quote by Schofield:

    “We’ve never been asked to cut 100 positions. It’s painful for everybody involved and we’ll do all that we can to help those individuals.”

    Who asked him to cut 135 teachers? I think there were so many other places to cut other than in the classroom. What a shame other cuts were not even honestly considered.

  7. I wonder if any of the kids, family members and friends of our board members who are new teachers and nontenured got the old heave ho also? I’m kidding. I know they didn’t.

  8. True. I haven’t heard one bit about cutting or furloughing administrator’s days or cutting back hours across the board etc like you see other districts doing in the news around the state. It seems this is what they wanted to do so they did it and no one should question the great and powerful at 711 Green. Gotta really respect the spin the paper gave it, everyone I know was howling about that today ;-). Also have to respect so called leadership that does their best to pass the buck on their subordinates in the town paper like these guys did. Even if the principals picketed for these teachers to be called ineffective and fired it is still the ones at the top that should stand up and take full responsibility. That’s the job. The supers sounded like kids on the playground that got caught doing something wrong from where I sit.

  9. To the anonymous poster, what site says that people who have told us to resign should be reported? Does it count if it has been recommended in not so many words?

  10. Here is the policy that should have been followed if things were done right. This bunch does whatever they want to suit themselves. No one should be all that surprised that they slipped up and let you all know exactly how they feel about the “worker bees”.

    Call and email your board members and let’s get this bunch out of here before they cause anymore embarrassment for this community!

    Can’t even follow their own policies.

    From:
    https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/ePolicy/policy.aspx?PC=GBKA&Sch=4082&S=4082&RevNo=1.11&C=G&Z=P

    Board Policy
    Descriptor Code:GBKA
    Professional Personnel Lay-Off

    Reduction in Force

    RESPONSIBILITIES AND PREROGATIVES OF BOARD OF EDUCATION

    The most important functions of the Hall County Board of Education are to employ personnel and manage resources within the limitations defined by the funding sources of the school system. Consequently, it shall be the prerogative of the Hall County Board of Education (hereinafter the “Board”) to abolish job positions, to reduce the length of the work year and salary of certificated or non-certificated personnel (hereinafter “to downgrade”) and/or to reduce the number of employees when seeking to cope effectively with program changes or financial exigency.

    REASONS FOR REDUCTION IN FORCE (HEREINAFTER “RIF”)

    The Board shall consider a reduction in the professional work force to include the abolition of job positions, the downgrading of an employee’s position, and/or the reduction of the number of employees, as a response to the following:

    a. A decrease in student enrollment in the Hall County School District which would necessitate a decrease in personnel or a discontinuation of programs;

    b. A change in state or local curriculum, personnel, or financial practices which would necessitate a change in or elimination of program or services provided by the Hall County School District;

    c. A lack of funding for programs, personnel, or services provided by the Hall County School District;

    d. Any reasonable reorganization plan to achieve a more efficient school district.

    APPLICABILITY OF POLICY

    This RIF policy shall apply to all personnel employed by the Hall County Board of Education. Nothing in this policy, however, shall be construed to extend to professional personnel any expectation of re-employment or due process rights greater than are available to the specific employees under the Fair Dismissal Law of Georgia; nor is this policy to be construed to mandate the promotion of an employee to a position of higher rank, authority, or compensation, even though the employee who is to be terminated may be qualified or certified for a higher position.

    RIF PROCEDURE

    When the Superintendent of the Hall County School System determines that the application of this reduction in force policy is necessary, it shall be his or her primary responsibility to prepare for presentation to the Board of Education a plan for reduction in force (RIF) in the affected program area(s).

    In making recommendations for termination or downgrading of employee positions, the Superintendent may consider any position or employee of the Hall County Board of Education.

    Factors to be considered by the Superintendent in devising a RIF plan shall include, first and foremost, the professional expertise, effectiveness and overall job performance of individual employees as reflected in annual evaluations as well as the superintendent’s own observations and knowledge. Only where demonstrated competence and expertise are equal among employees shall other factors such as tenure status, level of certification, and length of continuous service with the Hall County Board of Education be considered in order to make recommendations for the termination or downgrading of an employee’s position.

    In order to develop a RIF plan, the Superintendent may consult with any and all school district personnel who might have information which would enable the Superintendent to rank employees according to overall job performance. Once the Superintendent has completed a comparative assessment of employees, he or she shall prepare and present a plan for reduction in force for Board approval and action.

    Any certified employee faced with layoff under the guidelines of this policy may request a transfer to another position within the system to fill a vacancy if one is available and if the staff member is qualified to fill the vacancy.

    NOTICE AND HEARING PROCEDURES

    If the Board acts at the recommendation of the Superintendent to terminate an employee under contract or to downgrade an employee’s position, the Superintendent shall notify the affected employee in a manner consistent with the provisions of Georgia’s Fair Dismissal Law and he or she shall have whatever rights the Fair Dismissal Act provides for such employee.

    Hall County Schools Date Adopted: 11/11/2002

    NOTE: The State of Georgia has moved the Georgia Code. This new environment no longer allows us to link directly to the Georgia Code. For example enter 20-02-0211 in the search window and the Georgia Code will appear.
    Georgia Code Description
    O.C.G.A. 20-02-1160 LBOE tribunal power to determine local school controversies; appeals; special ed provisions

    O.C.G.A. 20-02-0211 Annual contract; disqualifying acts; fingerprinting; criminal record checks

    O.C.G.A. 20-02-0940 Grounds/procedure for terminating or suspending contract of employment (Fair Dismissal law)

    O.C.G.A. 20-02-0942 Nonrenewal after acceptance of 4th consecutive contract; tenure

    O.C.G.A. 20-02-0943 Powers of LBOE under fair dismissal act

    These references are not intended to be part of the policy itself, nor do they indicate the basis or authority for the board to enact this policy. Instead, they are provided as additional resources for those interested in the subject matter of the policy.

  11. What I would think you want to do is is make a report to PSC. They will investigate from there. Google GA Professional Standards Commission for the website.

  12. It really struck me today just how little thought seemingly went towards the most important thing, the entire mission if you will, our so- called system leadership put into the action they just took regarding teacher layoff. It really is staggering when you stop and think about it.

    What is this thing? The basic overall quality of our children’s education.

    If the RIF policy had been followed as it should have then the driving reason for laying off a teacher would have had to be based on level of performance first irregardless of tenure or seniority. This would have allowed administrators a chance to clear out some dead wood if you will. We all know there are a few teachers that are veterans who for whatever reason, are not at the level we would like or need them to be performing at. They also may tend to be pulling in higher levels of salary than those with 3 years or less in.

    So what does our district leadership do? Do they take the initiative to better the overall quality of teaching in our schools? Do they attempt to improve the education our children receive? Did they part ways with staff that may have proven over the years that they are unwilling to improve in the profession?

    No, they didn’t.

    They simply seemingly schemed up a way to not have to deal with potential kickback by targeting those ‘without rights’. They were totally unwilling to potentially inconvience themselves in order to do what was best for our children and the organization as a whole. They went for the quick and easy fix when they could have potentially improved instruction and saved more positions by cutting some higher paid positions.

    And our kids get to suffer to support their own relative comfort levels and game playing politics.

    I find that unacceptable and cowardly. How about you all?

  13. this happens every year in smaller numbers: teachers forced out for one reason or another. It even interested 2 UGA professors to the point of their writing a book: Breaking the Silence.
    RIF means paying unemployment, if you resign ti means more likely than not you won’t qualify for unemployment and more often than not you can count on a negative reference even when all observations were satisfactory oeverall.

  14. Can that be reported when an administrator gives a verbal negative reference when all observations are satisfactory?

  15. most reference forms require signature that won’t allow you to know what was said, unless you are lucky enough to get someone to tell you what was said you may NEVER know why you are not being hired.
    I am not sure about fair employment law or if it even applies, it should.

  16. Even if it doesn’t is certainly is a less than ethical and down right scummy way to do business. If you don’t have the spine to say it to the employee to their face you have no business calling yourself a leader.

  17. Know of anyone filing an EEOC complaint? Sounds like some have good reason.

  18. well at least it appears that Gainesville City schools WILL use their RIF policy should htey need to let teachers go.
    Most teachers just quietly go on, many leave teaching all together. I doubt many, if any, complaints or legal suits will be filed.

  19. hard to teach kids to stand up for themselves and do what is right when the adults don’t or won’t. sad commentary on this society and this area.

    it is this sort of thing that really adds to keeping georgia’s educational system at the bottom.

  20. I’ll tell you from experience you WILL get bad references even with perfect evaluations no matter if you resign or allow them to non renew you. They will never admit if there was a mistake made and to give you a good reference would do so in their eyes. All of you need to realize you were hand picked to be gotten rid of for some reason. They did not use a RIF because this was not a RIF. This was nothing more than a culling of the herd.

  21. Blackbird,
    are you saying the teachers should stand up for themselves. How do you expect them to do that? I can almost guarantee you won’t find anyone who is willing to help them fight the issue and if they do try it will probably make matters worse for them. Voice is right, many of them will neve rwork in education again due to the references: whether deserved or not they need to expect poor references. It is a shame because every day in eveyr state good teachers get pushed out for one reason or another. This is a major problem in the way the system works:

  22. if that is true what do they have to lose? they and their families and friends should make things as uncomfortable for the board and administration as possible. it might not help them right now but if there is enough outcry things could change for the better for others. there would also be a better chance of not getting those cruddy references if the people who give them are no longer with the system. enough political and public pressure and attention and these wonderful people we currently have will be right beside those teachers looking for employment.

  23. BAH HUMBUG!

    has anyone ‘thought’ about MACE and asking them to picket?

  24. Is anyone really surprised at the actions of the “powers that be” at the central office? When I was teaching, I knew of people being warned never to complain because there was a long line of teachers waiting to take someone’s job if they made waves. The “good ‘ole buddy” system lives on in Hall County. It all comes down to who you know. I feel so bad for the students, who are the ones who will suffer the most from this travesty.

  25. Why in the heck do we have an overabundance of central office staff, instructional coaches, and teachers on special assignment? Didn’t we just layoff over 130 teachers?
    I think this is a great question to ask board members EVERY time you see them out. Who are we putting first in this county- children or frivolous positions?

  26. Does anyone know when the next board seats come up for a vote? We need to send a serious message that the status quo is not acceptable. I think the community is completely aware now of the problems, so anyone running against an incumbent will be a shoe-in.

  27. There seems to be a big issue regarding ethical behaviors on the part of the top administration here in regards to sidestepping the RIF policy. Someone should contact the PSC and inquire if it constitutes an investigation into HR practices.

  28. Voice, if a former employer gives a negative reference that is not backed up by something in your employment file such as reprimands or poor evaluations and you can prove it cost you a job or other compensation, that is a highly actional issue. If you can get someone, either voluntarily or through a supeona, to back your claim you could be awarded damages as well as a ” name clearing” public hearing.

    For example, if you had all good evaluations, no reprimands etc and were one of the teachers nonrenewed so you applied for a position with another district and did not get the job. The interviewer or someone involved in the hiring process later tells you that it was something negative your last boss said that tipped it against you. If what your prior supervisor said is not supported by documentation you may have a very serious case. You may also have action concerning damage to your reputation.
    This is not legal advise, just observation.

  29. I forgot to add, the actions of a former employer like that tend to be viewed as “blacklisting”. This is a huge deal if you can prove it. Another thing that can carry even bigger repercussions is if a former employer says things about you in a negative light unsolicited. For example your former principal tells people in the community negative things about you. Those type of breeches can even be true, but the courts usually see them as malicious intent and you could again have a strongly actionable case.
    Again, not legal advise here.

  30. problem is PROVING it. you won’t find many who will actually tell you, “oh you did not get the job because of a negative reference.” there are reference check companies, but still trying to locate someone who will help you is tough. educaitonal law is not a common practice and it is hard to find someone to fight Goliath.

    as for the PSC: good luck. even when you file ethics complaints it gets bounced back to the exact people you would be complaining about.

  31. So what is the reason for not doing an RIF?

  32. I wonder what Hall County will do with the stimulus money?

  33. To pay friend’s travel expenses? LOL

  34. When will it be known just who is leaving central office positions? It is all being kept hush hush – after they said that 9 at CO would be leaving or returning to teaching positions. Where is that list? I am very curious. And are we going to hear that they will close the South Hall office? Information in bits and pieces is not adding up – I want details about it all.

  35. And another thing is anyone questioning the IB coordinators salary – you do know that there are less than 100 – 125 students in the IB program ,if that and there is a Central office position with a salary of over 100 thousand dollars for that few students and that small a program. Give me a break – so check out the number of special ed and ELL students in this county and tell me just where more money should go – someone needs to really look into the whole IB thing and just how much is costs and with so few students why cant it be combined at one school?? Rigor rigor rigor that buzz word needs to go – I’m tired of hearing it – if a school is not going to make AYP then you need to look at your at risk kids. If they had the best teachers in small groups with hands on projects and special meals and field trips like the IB kids are getting then their grades and scores would go up. Soooooooooooo what is being done for them?? I am not against advanced programs for gifted students but you did notice how many of the 100 teachers cut were special ed teachers didn’t you.
    If I hear rigor one more time I will scream – Mr Schofield you need a new word of the day – that one is worn out but then you would have to change the name of your Rigor Specialist position wouldn’t you.

  36. Very interesting article in The Times today. Forsyth, a similarly sized school system, had 10 teachers that were non-renewed. On the other hand, it is reported that Hall County had 100. (The number is actually larger, but 100 is the one that has been given to the press)
    Surrounding counties had no non-renewals and have been hiring.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  37. does anyone think that maybe we overhired so badly due to the language academy in south hall? could that along with such things as paying friends to travel and for others to go on trips overseas may be why we are the only county around in such terrible shape? seems like our people have been much more foolish than those in the surrounding systems.

  38. I think there was so much overspending- not just on overhiring. Look back at the Gainesville Times blogs and folks can see that quite a few saw this coming and encouraged fiscal prudence. Instead the board passed the largest budget ever. The people having to pay for that are the teachers and students.

    What can be done at this point? Encourage legislation for an elected superintendent? Vote the board members out?

  39. So now on top of laying off more teachers than anywhere around we are all (with some special exceptions – probably to cover some relatives) going to take an almost 3 percent paycut?! Won’t this mess up our retirement income too?
    All because the people at the top have blown through a ton of money the past few years. What happened to our big surplus? Was that just a lie?

  40. I say recall the idiot board members that let this happen.

  41. From reading the news and some other chatboards, it sounds like Hall County is the only one in this big of mess. Shouldn’t that tell the board members something?

  42. How is it that one high school “got rid of” many teachers and now has hired three teacher/coaches from another state. I thought the teacher let go would have first choice. Go figure.

  43. Sounds like someone lied doesn’t it? Imagine that.

  44. Seems like they are going to back this administration no matter what. Just as long as their friends and relatives ate taken care of.

  45. I don’t think they will much longer. Too many people are unhappy.

  46. I think the super should be willing to cut his salary by double the proposed cut- not just 1%. I also think central office staff should reduce their days by at least 10.

  47. Is anyone else concerned by the little detail that was slipped in the article about fine arts teachers will now be paid by stimulus money? It was called a “shift in accounting”, but it sounds to me like a good way to phase these programs out once the stimulus funds run out. Could there suddenly be no room in the budget for them?

  48. I was concerned about it. I don’t believe it is a proper or allowed use of the money. But what else is new. Sort of like misuse of travel money I guess. Needs to be looked in to.

  49. “shift in accounting” should be this group’s mission statement. Could replace rigor.

  50. What is telling though regarding paycuts etc is how no one in an administrative job (outside of the Super’s little show) has had to take cuts. There should be furloughs and days cut across the board for principals on up way before dipping into teacher pay. Also the board shouldn’t be accepting any monies whatsoever themselves way before getting into teacher’s pay and benefits. This is also going to effect teacher’s retirement for all of us down the road.
    But we are still getting all the fancy programs for the small minority of kids deemed worthy. Cool!

  51. Friday, 05 June 2009

    The Hall County Board of Education has announced a called meeting for June 12, 2009.
    N O T I C E
    THE HALL COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION WILL HOLD A CALLED MEETING AT THE HYATT HOTEL, TWO WEST BAY STREET, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, AT 4:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 2009, FOR EVALUATION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT.
    Posted 06-04-09

    must be nice. wonder what this is costing us?

  52. Sort of precludes any chance of public comment or participation there now doesn’t it?

  53. I also have to ask. Whatever happened to the much publicized public posting of last year’s superintendent’s evaluation that garnered so much press and bragging last year? I can’t seem to locate it after looking for it all year. Just like the past few years. Typical. Got to love the transparency and follow up at the top these days.

  54. I think the superintendent’s evaluation should come from the public, not these hoodwinked board members.

  55. Anyone interesting in taking a little last minute getaway to Savannah around the 12th?

  56. I’ll drive but I’ll need some state travel money. ;-)

  57. Two great quotes tonight:

    from: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/19818/

    “A 2 percent pay cut across the board, for example, would negatively affect more experienced employees much more than less experienced employees, Gainesville schools chief financial officer Janet Allison said.”

    Why in the #*%(# can’t our wonderful Hall County ‘leaders’ understand this concept?

    and from: http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=220963

    “Schofield said he did not want to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’ but accounting for $7.1-million in federal stabilization funding in the new budget has been an accounting nightmare because it has to be shown separately with specific listing on how it is spent.”

    Because we sure don’t want to actually account for anything we don’t absolutely have to! Someone might realize where the money has actually gone?

  58. Two great quotes tonight:

    from The Gainesville Times

    “A 2 percent pay cut across the board, for example, would negatively affect more experienced employees much more than less experienced employees, Gainesville schools chief financial officer Janet Allison said.”

    Why in the #*%(# can’t our wonderful Hall County ‘leaders’ understand this concept? Especially regarding it carrying over into retirement!

    and from Access North GA

    “Schofield said he did not want to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’ but accounting for $7.1-million in federal stabilization funding in the new budget has been an accounting nightmare because it has to be shown separately with specific listing on how it is spent.”

    Because we sure don’t want to actually account for anything we don’t absolutely have to! Someone might realize where the money has actually gone?

  59. Thought the large number associated with unemployment claims ($700,000) was interesting too. If hiring (last couple of years’ overhiring) and a true RIF had been handled correctly have to wonder if that would have happened. Didn’t anyone see that coming?

  60. Interesting.

  61. Isn’t $700,000 for unemployment claims quite a bit when supposedly most of the 100 resigned in lieu of being non-renewed (and for the promise of another job with Hall)? What if these people end up getting a job and don’t file unemployment? What will the budgeted money go for then?

  62. No telling.

  63. A quote Richard Higgins from the Gainesville Times about the superintendent review:

    “We’ll give him a good review because everybody thinks he’s done a good job,” Higgins said.

    Oh, boy…. what a whopper. Did they ask the community? Students? Teachers?

  64. Nope. Closed process.

  65. Does beg the question “Who is everybody?” that is for sure. I guess it means everybody who got a free trip to the Savannah Hyatt for a long weekend?

  66. What is a system like Hall doing mostly below the state average on the CRCT?

  67. Being progressive and forward thinking if you go by what the Board Chairman reads, I mean says.

  68. I agree.

  69. Anyone take a close look at graduation rates yet?

  70. What’s up with Times saying Hall County had 300 more students this year, but fired over a hundred teachers at the end of last year? How does this shake out?

  71. Missed that in the paper but the dirty little secret is that a certain someone at Central Office allowed way to much over hiring last year basically due to the World Language Academy. All those teachers were hired or transferred to staff that new really unneeded school. Teachers were hired to replace those transferred over to it and kids were brought out of other schools to fill it and there were not enough new students to make up the difference. So we wound up spending a whole lot of extra money on staff we never should have hired to begin with for the most part. Then this budget crisis hits and our friend at Central Office has to cut all these excess positions. The bonus for him was he got to do so from all over the system and did not have to necessarily cut the ones who were over hired. All to make his mark and improve his ‘legacy’ as the Charter School Guru of GA or whatever. That is why there was such a huge increase in last year’s budget. The largest one year increase in Hall County history.
    A lot of good people really got screwed over in that one as well as our surplus rainy day fund.

  72. The sad thing is that the Schofield said that those teachers let go would be the first in line to be hired back and that has not happened. The board has allowed principals to hire people from other states, even retired teachers. Loyalty is a two way street and the board wants employees to be loyal to them, but they show no loyalty in return. We’ve read about all the teachers that worked on their first furlough day. Do you think those teachers would have shown up if the furlough day was on the first day of pre-planning instead of the last? Do you believe that was just by chance? I think not! I hope all the teachers have a great year, but changes need to be made with the leadership. I wonder how many 49% people work at the county office. It sure is a shame that the education system in Hall County still works by the “good ole boy” theory.

  73. do not understand why anyone is surprised anymore. we allow them to keep doing this stuff they will keep taking advantage of us. we are the ones willing to settle for these false promises and lowered standards.

  74. Non-renewed: These are not “good ole boys” in our leadership. I’ve worked for good ole boys and they are nothing like this current administration.

  75. I have a couple of questions:

    1) How do concerned citizens go about a petition to recall the whole board of education?
    2) How have the actions of this board not at least earned a reprimand?

    The whole opening of this school year has been a disaster,with the students paying the price.

  76. Crazy things are afoot! We started the year with an unmanned class of students in the building. The principal had to wait until this week to hire a teacher and guess who was hired?? NOT one of our friends who lost their job last spring….a NEW teacher. How sickening is that?!?!

    Apparently principals have a magic list of teacher that they are allowed to interview and hire from.

    And how about those kids basically starting the year with a sub? It’s not like those first few days are crucial or anything!! Ha ha!

  77. New teachers are a whole lot cheaper and possibly more receptive to the educational band-aid bandwagons of this administration…..
    Unfortunately research shows that schools that are successful have veteran teachers with long-time experience in the grade level that they teach.
    It will be interesting to see what test scores do with schools that have a lot of inexperienced teachers.

  78. I’m actually glad this is happening in the county, alowlycog. Parents are extremely upset about how this was handled. Involved parents already have their concerns about this administration. Now parents that are not so involved are aware of their leadership style. (Since most of these classes were comprised of students that have parents that are not known to complain)

    Have you noticed that some of these new hires reads like a who’s who of Gainesville?

    Is this character, competency, rigor for all?
    Start writing letters to have an elected superintendent.

  79. Not for all. Just a select few. The SAT article in today’s Times pretty much sums it up. Only report or allow what makes you look good and to hell with the rest.

  80. Why was a substitute teacher in Hall paid $100,000+?

  81. According to old DocB, that was one of several ‘misprints’. That sub was actually a principal/Executive director of something or other.
    Some kind of ‘misprint’ huh?

  82. “We started the year with an unmanned class of students in the building”

    this seemed to have happened in several schools. All about the students! Rigor Rigor!

  83. We made the New York Times!!!!! I bet ws is sooooo proud!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/08/education/08school.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

    ““Districts tend to make their problems worse by laying off good teachers and keeping bad ones,” Mr. Daly said.

    The Hall County district northeast of Atlanta, which has 35 schools, dismissed 100 of its 2,000 teachers, said William Schofield, the superintendent. John Stape, who taught high school Spanish, and his wife, Janie, who taught third grade, were among them.

    Ms. Stape, 50, is still out of work. Mr. Stape, who is 65 and has a Ph.D., found a job teaching this school year, for less pay, in a rural high school southeast of Atlanta. He said that no administrator had ever observed his teaching before the day he was laid off.

    “They didn’t know whether I was a good teacher or not,” Mr. Stape said. Mr. Schofield said the district used student achievement data and professional judgment to identify mediocre teachers for dismissal, but he acknowledged that Hall County had to cut so many teachers that strong ones were let go, too.

    “We downsized about 50 pretty good folks,” Mr. Schofield said. “

  84. Interesting story. It is interesting to read one without a positive spin on it. Why is WS quoted as saying that Hall dismissed 100 teachers when the Hallco website says 140?

    If you could see the test scores of some of those 50 “pretty good folks” you would think “Excellent” instead of “pretty good”.

    Does the journalist have a link to this website?

  85. because 100 sounds better than 140? kind of like a ‘little travel money” sounds better than 20 thousand dollars worth i would imagine.

  86. or in the way that 14 instructional supervisors sounds better than 32 huh doc

  87. For 2008 there are 32 instructional supervisors and 113 instructional specialists. There are 30 folks that make over $100,000 a year not counting travel. 27 more make in the 90 thousand range. Most of these are CO people.

    Just think how much more money the county would have saved if 140 of these people were cut instead of 140 teachers. These cuts would not have affected students either.

    Oh, wait…..I am not using Singapore math strategies….

  88. I understand that at last night’s board meeting, all field trips were canned. I’m having a little trouble finding this being reported anywhere.

  89. and i doubt it will be reported. our local newspeople are apparently woefully inept and more worried about covering for their hall county buddies than actually reporting on anything. look at everything they have been shown just on this site. there is absolutly no accountability thanks to that bunch of so called journalists.

  90. Keep making noise boys! One day just the right person will listen and do what is right for our boys and girls in this county. I’ve been reading your message in quite a few places. I believe you are making a difference.

  91. http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/23903/

    so it’s no field trips unless you are one of the ws annoited ones i guess. nothing like rampant favoritism and preferential treatment!

    what a crock!

  92. I’ll bet not only WLA, but IB and da Vinci and all the other pet programs will go ahead full force, while we “regular” folks can’t buy a copy; oh wait, we CAN buy a copy and all the other supplies needed for our classes, because it’s not being provided to us. Does anybody know how much money is going to this IB program for a very few kids? And I see we are now having a “pinning ceremony”. Isn’t that special?

  93. i guess special is one word for it.

  94. Of course they will go on full force. Those are Schofield’s resume builders and PR jewels. They are designed from the ground up with every advatage in order to be successful. Cherrypick the clients and cater to the lucky 5% and downplay everything else is the way to get ahead now, don’t ya know?

  95. Seriously?

    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=223499&c=10

    Teachers are laid off and suffering pay cuts, and schools are scrounging for basic classroom supplies and this clown tells the Chamber it is making the system better in order to tout his little pet projects and say looky at me??!!

    Does he even live in the same world as the test of us?

  96. Watch how many teachers are let go if the high schools go to a 7 period day next year, as is being discussed.

  97. Yep… High school teachers, you better be out looking for jobs.

  98. Does anyone have any information about a principal grabbing a teacher in one of our schools last year?

  99. Our East Hall Board of Education member could probably fill you in on that.

  100. Another cover up?

  101. This is a great web site to look up what the people at the central office are making. http://www.open.georgia.gov/

  102. There is quite a bit of very interesting information out there when you figure out where to look, that is for sure.

  103. It is finally out in the news today–teachers might be cut if the board goes to a modified schedule. Each high school might lose 5-6 teachers. When does it end? I was told one high school hired 11 new teachers this school year after letting 12-15 go.

  104. Because this whole ‘crisis’ has been used as an excuse to cover other issues. If the block is so inefficient why didn’t we get rid of it years ago? Where is the research and data? Is it inefficient now just because Scho-go says so? Just like the 130 or so teachers let go were inefficient because he said so? Demand proof!

  105. And as far as the lowering of standards goes, anyone that doesn’t realize we have steadily been lowering standards in this system for the majority of our students for the past few years is either not paying attention or drinkig the Kool-Aid directly from the source.

  106. There can’t be too many new teachers left at the high schools, so who goes and who stays?

  107. Depends on who the powers that be don’t like or which program they feel is no longer worthy of keeping I would imagine.

  108. This community needs to demand accountability and take our schools back.

  109. I was asked to take a long term sub position at the beginning of the school year to open an elementary classroom. The super did not want to make a decision to hire a teacher until all of the numbers came in. The principal was finally given the okay to hire. I worked very hard for the few weeks that I had with those students. They were very comfortable with me and I with them. I had established a relationship with each and every one of these children, and their parents. I also fit in very well with the team I was working with. I came in early, stayed late, and attended grade level meetings. I was offerd an interview for the position, and gladly took it. However, I was notified by email that the principal had choosen another candidate. This was very disappointing and very bothersome. The next day, an email was sent to the entire staff including me boasting about the candidate that she had hired, and guess what, she was just out of college, and had no teaching experience. So, what do you do……Later I found out through a very good source that the HR department had contacted a local college’s school of education asking that they notify their graduates that Hall County has multiple elementary openings. I tried on many occasions to contact the HR Director to make an appointment with him. He never once returned my phone calls. What does this say about Hall County???

  110. It says they are filling a spot cheaply instead of considering what would give the boys and girls of Hall County the best education.

  111. I have to wonder who the new hire was related to.

  112. I wonder who the new hire was related to.

  113. Sorry for the double post.

  114. There seems to be two Non-Renewed Teachers posting. To eliminate any confusion, my posts have the Non-Renewed Teacher in caps at the beginning of each word. No offense to the other person, but I just want to eliminate any confusion. Keep posting. I realize my days teaching in Hall County are over, but I want positive changes to occur.

  115. Sorry, Non-renewed….this will be my new post name. I want to keep things on the positive as well, and I am continuing to look for teaching jobs in other counties. I am very hopeful that something will come up….. you never know what will happen after the 1st of the year. Also, I don’t know how many of you are high school teachers, but Gwinnette County has many openings in that field. I check their website every day and continue to see openings. On another note, a relativeof mine just so happened to meet the super of Gwinnette County Schools at a Chamber meeting. When asked what he thought about the situation in Hall County, he responded with this…” all I can say is that Gwinnette County plans well”

  116. Not a problem Elem-non-renewed. I hope you did not take my post the wrong way. I am a high school teacher, but realize my career in public education is over. I’ve taught for a while and seen many changes, but nothing like how we have been treated. At least treat your people with respect, especially in the hard times.

  117. Glad to have you both here!! That statement is classic! Very telling also.

  118. Hallconcern–I hope you mean that in a good way.

  119. I do. Telling in that others see the lack of planning etc that our current “leadership” is rife with. Even their own peers see it.

  120. I sure hope so….I grew up in this county, went to college locally, and started my career here. I moved away and was gone quite a few years. In the mean time, I gained a lot of experience from out of state. I later had the opportunity to move back to Hall County and landed a job very close to my home. It was a great 3 years and I have really enjoyed being back home, but this just sikens me to no end…..I have never seen anything like this…..

  121. Were either of you told you would be hired back if you went ahead and resigned?

  122. I personally know that all the non-renewed at our school were told to resign if they hoped to get a job back with Hall County. If they didn’t resign the principal said that there was nothing that he/she could do for them. This was also the exact situation the year before when schools were “letting go” of 2 or 3 per elementary school.

  123. I did not resign………I was advised not to….. BUT, I was told by my principal that there was a very good chance that I would be rehired, so when I took the long term sub position, I felt pretty good about getting the position considering the fact that I was layed off due to the economy, had nothing but great evals, great test scores(had to through that in), and I was doing a darn good job. However, that was not the case……Also, as I said earlir, I made multiple phone calls to Dr. Hill’s office and left multple messages for him to return my calls, and he never returned one of them….. BUT, what is interesting is that when I called the first time, one of his staff members asked me if I had resigned or chosen to be non-renewed….I was really caught off guard by her question, so I did not think to ask her why she needed to know that, so I just answered her question and told her that I was non-renewed. I had every intention of asking Dr, Hill about why that question was asked, but as I said earlier, he never returned any of my calls…..

  124. I meant….had to throw that in…no wonder I’m non-renewed….Just kidding…been a long day

  125. The whole thing regarding resign or we won’t hire you back is so unethical it is sickening. Can you say coercion?

  126. Elem-non-renewed,
    Who advised you not to resign and take a non-renewal?

  127. Why is that important?

  128. My conversation with my principal lasted two minutes. I was told there was no position for me. I started to make the comment to my principal that he kept telling us that the 49% were safe and he did not let me finish. He said that he told everyone at the last faculty meeting that nobody was safe, but he knew that I was not there. I then offered to return full time and was told in a mean tone that there was no full time position. I was then told I had until Monday to decide if I wanted to resign or be non-renewed. I got up an walked out. After over 30 years in public education and almost half of them in Hall County, I did not even get a thank you for my service. Please understand that I knew as a retired 49% teacher that I was year to year. I don’t agree with the decision because I believe I bring a lot to the classroom and beyond. My problem is how I was treated. We are in the business of dealing with people and don’t know how to deal with people. I was not talked to by the administration for the remainder of the year and even accused of doing something I did not do–my principal even sent and e-mail to Schofield about. When I contact Schofield to meet with him about it he did not want to hear it. I was lied to because they turned right around and hired someone full time from another state. I can’t go public with anything because I have to worry about some others still in the system. I will not hurt their careers, but I will not work in this county again, go to retired teacher meetings, or set foot in another school, except one and that is for a special reason. I don’t know if this helps anyone, but that is my story. I have done a lot for education in this county, in and out of the classroom. I don’t expect favors or parties, but I do expect respect. I did not get that–I was treated like dirt. That is hard to get over any time–especially in a very bad economy. I decided to be non-renewed because I knew it would be a legal issue if I had to apply for unemployment benefits. I was not going to resign because I did nothing wrong. If it means I never teach again in public education–so be it. I still have my pride and I still want public education to get better, but it will not when people are treated like this and always looking over their shoulders.

  129. It is a very strange thing. When retired principals or other administrator types are put in 49% or even 100% positions by Scho-go it is touted as a cost saving measure and wise use of resources ( even though many of their half time pay was actually more than a teacher’s full time pay may have been). I was blasted over and over for questioning the practice by the pro Hall County bunch. It was one if the issues that started this site.

    Now, when it classroom teachers we are talking about then suddenly the practice is not cost efficient and we have to dump them quick.

    Must be nice to live in a world where reality is just whatever is politically convienent at the given time for you like the one our Super and his Board inhabit.

    The point you make regarding the way the current group at 711 Green Street treat others is dead on. I have said over and over that the current crop has nothing but disdain for what they see as the lower rungs of the organization. Teachers are nothing more tha a commodity to be managed in their world. Drones and neccesary evils to be put up with.

    Don’t let these people run you out of our schools. They believe they own the schools simply by right of the positions they hold but that should not be the case. The public school system belongs to the local people, not just educrats. While you may not work for the system anymore you are still a part of the community and that includes OUR schools, no matter how much those presently ‘in charge’ may wish it to be different.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope it prompts others to do also.

  130. Thanks for the kind words. I’ve landed on my feet and am still and educator–my license plate reminds me. If they had gotten rid of all 49% I would still feel the same about how I was treated. They did not get rid of all the 49% at my school and even added them at the county office. My gosh, the 2nd highest person at the county office is a 49% and there are some great stories about trying to find him when needed. Education needs reform and until people stand up for what is right it will never change. I wish I could be more public, but I can’t. As Walt Disney once said, “Somehow I can’t believe there are any heights that can’t be scaled by man who knows the secret of making dreams come true.” We just need to teach more people the secret of making dreams come true–isn’t that what education is all about?

  131. LOL. I have always found it amusing that the man on charge of the money is half time! Shows where the priorities lie I suppose.

  132. I could tell you stories about being on a school council and being a part of the interview process for a principal and the influence this 49% had in picking the principal–even if the person was not the first choice of the council.

  133. I say good for the teacher. Nice to see one with the backbone to stand up to the bullies!

  134. Maybe this story will inspire others to stand up to bullies, too.

  135. Interesting article. Some of the examples sound sort of familiar to what has recently happened around Hallco in some ways.

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2009/11/18/facebook-in-the-workplace-take-care-on-both-sides/

  136. So now they want to keep our money “in case” there are more furlough days. I have a bad feeling about this.

  137. Sort of like letting the starving kid guard the pantry.

  138. Since they will be collecting interest on those funds will they return that interest to the employees?

  139. Oh I’m sure they will! They just need a little short term loan for some extra unforseen travel supplements. :-)

  140. http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/26976/

    “The Hall County Board of Education is on track to adopt a hybrid schedule next school year that means contracts will not be renewed for an estimated 35 high school teachers. Hall Superintendent Will Schofield estimates the move will annually save the system between $2.5 million and $3 million.”

    Everyone needs to watch very carefully how these 35 lambs are chosen.

  141. “Schofield said he recommended the hybrid model to the school board Tuesday because it will reduce teachers’ planning time to allow the system to cut five or six faculty members at each of the high schools. Instead of teaching 75 percent of the school day, the hybrid model will have teachers teaching about 86 percent of the school day, he said”

    And just where do these numbers come from? The ws pull it out of thin air research institute? Was there a study done I missed here?

  142. Wow, the response from WS on the Gainesville Times just goes to show what type of leadership HCSS has.

    Hopefully his response will finally get the ball rolling to clean up and take back our system :)

    Thank you Hallconcern for filling in the gaps when local media goes silent….

  143. Yes it does, doesn’t it.
    What’s the old saying? “You ain’t seen nothing yet”?
    Stay tuned.

  144. Notice how they had the Times “fix” the bit about non-renewals? Pu-lease

  145. You could just feel the condescension oozing out in his post.

  146. Again, well done. Fine piece of investigative reporting.

  147. Be careful…..this might be a ploy to get everyone blogging on local sites hoping that someone will be slanderous/libelous.

  148. I agree. I think they are stirring the pot for some reason.

  149. How so? Why?

  150. I think you may have been right, since as how the Superintendent basically threatened to sue anyone who might post something he doesn’t like. Same old same old.

  151. You all are missing the boat here. All it will take is one or a few of the teachers that found themselves unemployed at the end of last year to file lawsuit on the grounds that the Hall County Board of Education did not follow it’s own Reduction in Force policy during this lay off. If the policy is there, which it is, then they were legally bound to follow it since they have repeatedly publically stated that the lay offs were caused by the budget problems. That is why organizations go to the trouble of drawing up Reduction in Force policies. If they can just get rid of people willy nilly why pay their lawyers to draft the policy in the first place? I believe that is why Schofield attempted at first to say all those let go were ineffective. That would have been a way around the RIF policy as it does not cover those let go for poor performance. He had to backtrack on that publically due to political pressures. Being non tenured is not relevant in regards to the RIF policy. The simple fact is the Hall County teachers laid off were supposed to be covered under the district’s RIF policy. That clearly didn’t happen. The right law team or lawyer who knows actual employment law, unlike GAE and PAGE lawyers for the most part, should be able to at least bring action to make Hall Schools pay you for losses due to being Incorrectly forced to be unemployed in an incorrect manner.

  152. Schofield’s own quote about downsizing about 50 good people is basically a smoking gun right there in my opinion. It proves this was a reduction in force action and not just getting rid if poor teachers.

  153. I’m reading lots of interesting threads on several blogs. We have legislators that are eager to pass laws based on the actions of a few, so keep blogging the problems- maybe someone can fix them.

  154. Did anyone catch WS on WDUN Monday March 1 at @9:10, campaigning for Nathan Deal for Governor? He was clearly on the show as THE Superintendent of Hall County Schools and stumping for a good friend who happens to be running for a high office. If not illegal or unethical, it certainly shows a lack of good sense in the man. How many Hall County School employees are going to feel pressured about this? I remember a few years ago his administration sent out emails to school employees telling them that they couldn’t use Hall County email or resources for political purposes nor could they represent a political view/candidate if their was any question of whether or not the public could misconstrue their support as an offical stance of the school system.

  155. He sent the same thing out this year also regarding budget issue and legislators. Loved the photo in the Times this morning of Schogo in his Deal campaign gear at yesterday’s announcement while on the taxpayers’ dime. But remember he is not a political opportunist!!! Since he and Deal are neighbors up on Nopone (I’ve heard he bought his land from the Deals) maybe he was just being neighborly. Hope they enjoy their new library!

    We need a school superintendent who is less worried about pleasing all the politicians and more worried about our all of our kids and teachers, not just the higher end voters, from where I sit. He has no business whatsoever publically weighing in in a partisan way.

  156. From http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.p

    Hall BOE to look at closing a school

    GAINESVILLE – Hall County School Board members Monday night learned they could expect options on a more ‘efficient’ use of school system classroom space; Superintendent Will Schofield said that could mean shutting down an elementary school during the current uncertain economic times with ever declining revenues and enrollment.

    Schofield said closing a campus could save $800,000 in salaries plus the cost of running the school, advising the board that he and Associate Superintendent for Human Resources Dr. Richard Hill would have those options ready for review in two weeks.

    “The Board has asked us that with the stand-still in enrollment growth over the last couple of years, if there are not opportunities to look at the potential, probably at the elementary level, of closing an elementary school and using all of our permanent space,” Schofield said. “That’s a very legitimate question in these economic times.”

    Hill said he would wait until May after the state legislative session has adjourned to present recommendations for teacher contracts because of the uncertainty of state revenues; ordinarily the Board would get those recommendations in March.

    Not surprised in the least. I have been saying for years now that these ‘leaders’ were extending to much and spending like drunken sailors on every program that comes down the pike. Passing the largest budget in Hall County history right on the eve of the current economic disaster. Now the loss of an elementary school may be the payoff for this. you can only blame so much on the economy. At some point this board and its ‘leaders’ are going to have to start taking some responsibility and quit blaming bloggers and everyone else for what is going on in this system.

    The big question is, which one will it be? The World Language Academy (nice idea but not needed in terms of student population)? Mt Vernon? I’m betting no.
    Will it be one of the lower income/minority schools where there is less likelihood of parent complaints?

    This should prove very interesting.

  157. Better be good or we’ll shut down your school (insert evil laughter)

  158. So we have been carrying an unneeded school for a few years? This doesn’t make sense. If enrollment were declining I could see the point of not needing the space but we have stayed still in enrollment for the most part.

    Weren’t we going to sell the old Chestnut Mountain building a few years back before the grand poobah came up with his crown jewel World Language Academy? (not a bad school just questioning the timing).

    Guess we really didn’t need it after all, at least from a monetary and population standpoint. Nice.

    But, who among us could have possibly foreseen such a thing……..?

  159. ““If the economic picture doesn’t get any better, what people are going to start talking about is what programs are we going to get rid of and how we are going to spend less money. The knee-jerk reaction will be to get rid of programs, but we have to resist that,” Superintendent Will Schofield said.”

    Programs over people – Hall County mantra now.

    Seems to me the superintendent’s job should be to take care of and support the folks that work for the system as best he can, not champion every educational fad or program that comes down the pike, but maybe that’s just me. Leader of people vs. leader of programs, y’know?

  160. Interesting post about which school may be being targeted for closure on this site. Can anyone confirm?

    http://teachers.net/states/ga/

  161. this is being discussed here too.

    http://leftonlanier.com/2010/03/12/more-rumors-on-the-proposed-hall-county-elementary-school-closing/

    way to further frighten and divide our community. my money is on jones and it’s poor hispanic kids.

  162. I read with interest the article in today’s Times about the new learning program desired at Chestnut Mountain. It would cost a mere $90,00. SURELY they jest. This system should not be spending one dime on any new programs for next year; in fact many need to be done away with. Any teacher could advise the powers that be which programs are worthless. But of course, as usual, they are not interested in what the people who are actually in the trenches think. I bet every associate, assistant, co, deputy, etc. superintendent is busily coming up with more for us to do in order to show how important their jobs are.

  163. Programs over people. Schogo basically said the same in the paper the other day. The fella is clueless.

  164. “one of the lower income/minority schools where there is less likelihood of parent complaints?”

    and the winner is…

    Jones Elementary! Enjoy your prize!

    http://teachers.net/states/ga/

    hate to I told you so. So predictable.

  165. Next steps will be to move the minority kids from Jones to Chicopee Woods and the non minority group still at Chicoppe Woods to Chestnut Mountain.

    Want to lay odds?

  166. Sad, sad times for our schools.

  167. I saw an interesting claim on another site. Apparently Hall County Schools is advertising for teachers over in Athens during movie previews.

    Strange. I guess we need replacements for those laid off?

  168. I’ve worked for several different school districts and Hall County is by far the worst mess I have ever seen. I made the biggets mistake of my life by moving here and believing the brochure. The way this district treats employees is lower than low. How can you call yourself a good Christian and play such games? I’ve decided to leave. I don’t want to spend the remainder of my career here and I sure don’t want to enroll my kids here either.

  169. The disease has spread…… 12 teachers total at my school….. We all got the “the county has decided not to re-new your contract “ bit. However, they are not saying its performance based, they are remaining silent, or playing the blame game. My principal stated the county made the decision; if you call HR they would say the local school made the decision.

    check the blog:http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/04/22/is-gwinnett-using-non-renewals-to-thin-the-ranks-why-is-fulton-keeping-grad-coaches/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog

  170. Hall County had no honor. Email Richard Hill (richard.hill@hallco.org) and ask him why Hall County is starting to use extortion to terminate employees?

  171. Mrs. S

    Am looking into the things you sent. Do you have further info regarding the relative issue you mentioned?

  172. Nope. She has quit talking about him after word got around.

    However, his friend he hired is making almost the same as a 30 year custodian.

  173. Mrs. S.
    I checked around a bit. Based on what you related there seems to be strong potential ethics violations related to Hill that tha PSC should probably be made aware of. You should call them at 404-232-2700 to get info about filing a complaint.

    On the other, do you recall exactly how they are related? Family sides or anything?

  174. OK BOYS AND GIRLS – HERE IS YOUR CHANCE!

    The Atlanta Journal is going to do a story on non-renewed teachers and is asking for you to contact them:

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/04/22/is-gwinnett-using-non-renewals-to-thin-the-ranks-why-is-fulton-keeping-grad-coaches/comment-page-2/

    “We are going to do a story on non-renewals and I am about to post a note asking teachers to contact the education editor Angela Tuck (atuck@ajc.com) about their situation.”

    Time to give Hill, Will and the rest a little heartburn for the way you have been treated!

    Time to stand up and be counted!

  175. Does anyone know anything about John Barge who is running for state school superintendent? If he is tight with Hall’s current school “leaders” , I would like to know.

  176. Darn it- I was hoping for some folks to run for the other 2 board seats. At least that would get those board members out campaigning and talking to people. They would get a realistic picture of what the community thinks of the system. Can we all do write ins? Anyone willing to be a write in candidate?

  177. Well folks it looks like that not done deal is a done deal complete with a use for the building andca bit of a twist regarding where the Jones’ kids will be going.

    You get what you pay for. The government you deserve and all that.

  178. “In addition, all current and new Chicopee Woods district families will be contacted within 14 days and given first priority, based on available space, to enroll at the Chestnut Mountain Inquiry Program or the Martin Elementary charter school for science and technology”

    Here’s your real reason folks -

  179. “A part-time caretaker will maintain the school grounds and coordinate security with district security personnel and the Hall County Sheriff’s Department.”

    a board member’s dad perhaps?

  180. My heart goes out to the children and faculty at Jones. A sad day.

  181. Now would be a perfect time to recall the board- before Mr. Thompson gets in.

  182. Well, since you’re talking about a board members father, what about Brian Sloan? Damon Gibbs is going around to the school letting custodians go left and right. Just this week he went to one school and told a man who was about to retire he could retire or be terminated.

    Here’s the question… custodians jobs are being farmed out BUT Brian Sloans father is a custodian at Jones. I’m sure Will saved Brians father a job somewhere. After all Brian just votes for whatever Will tells him to vote for. It’s clear Brian doesn’t have a mind of this own. Why else would he jump when Will says jump and work under Jeff Benefield at Chestnut Mountain Church? Jeff Benefield used his role as a pastor to get his kids into the sports programs at Johnson. He’s a lost sad man. Go visit Chestnut Mountain Church and you’ll see.

  183. OK, trash me, trash the policies I’m for, call me whatever you like. It comes with the job. But have the dignity to leave my family, my church, and my pastor out of it, Are you kidding me? Really? I am all about public debate and the exchange of ideas, but you have gone over the line with these absurd and offensive comments.

    Let me tell you about my dad. My dad is 72 year old man of God and has worked at Jones elementary for 10 years. He was hired by Bill Thompson who still thinks the world of my dad. Go ask Bill, or Hank Ramey why my dad still has a job. Go ask the teachers at Jones and you will find out why my dad still has a job with Hall County Schools. He’s a man of character and integrity and he works hard. He is not employed because of me. If you will look back ten years you will find that I was not on the BOE at that time and had nothing to do with my dad getting the job. And guess what? I had nothing to do with him keeping a job either. I don’t know where you get your info, but I have a bit of firsthand info. We are “farming out” more of our custodial services. That is not a new decision. But we also determined that we would not be laying off custodians. We would continue to use our present custodians and gradually go to contract labor by attrition. Check our minutes. This is public record. I don’t know why the person you’re talking about was fired, if he was. And yes, my dad was offered the position of caretaker at Jones because he knew the property so well.But there was NOTHING underhanded about the way my dad’s job was gotten or kept.

    You know what else? Yes, I VERY often agree with Mr. Schofield, but in those times when I don’t, you wouldn’t know that because this board gets their disagreements ironed out through phone calls, emails, etc. I’ve heard this junk about rubber stamping Mr, Schofields ideas. Only those who do not understand the process would say that. By the time Mr Schofield comes to the Board Meeting with an official recommendation, we have worked on that recommendation for quite some time through work sessions, emails, phone calls. So we have the give and take, agreements or disagreements ironed out before we get to the vote. It’s an appropriate way to work.

    And finally, why in the world would you bring my church and my pastor into a topic on this website. Yes, Pastor Benefield helped coach several years at JHS. But go ask Benji Wood if Rev. Benefield’s daughters pulled their own weight on the team and he will tell you about your unfounded assertions.

    Let’s discuss, give ideas to, or criticize those of us who serve the Hall County School System, but let’s have the decency to leave our families or even churches out of it.

    Mrs. Scavo, how offensive, unfortunate and inappropriate your post was.
    Feel free to contact me in person if you would like to discuss it.

    Brian Sloan
    Hall County Board Of Education, Post 2
    770-967-6706 (h)
    bsloan@chestnutmountain.org

  184. I have to agree with Mr. Sloan here. I have many questions and differences with this administration. But when I read Mrs. Scavo’s post last night, I said “Whoa, lady, you have just crossed WAY over the line.”

  185. I think that bringing in Mr. Sloan’s church is completely inappropriate. The issues need to stick with the school system.

    I also think keeping his dad on is a bad PR move. He may be the most qualified, but it has the appearance of nepotism.

  186. over the line yes. welcome to public service. people are hurting in this district and many have been treated unfairly. how can you be surprised when someone lashes out? it did actually get a board member to pay some attention though.

    i thought board business was supposed to be handled through open meetings and work sessions, not behind the scenes phone calls and emails. glad that was cleared up. so much for sunshine laws i guess. the attrition thing isn’t really the way it has played out either from what i hear. sloan should ask around about that as well as several other issues.

  187. The church thing was kind of random and off topic.

    I don’t see where Mr. Sloan’s father was attacked or anything though. I read it as a problem with the school system administration showing favoritism to a board member’s relative, which it seems to be. I don’t think the poster said it was Mr. Sloan’s fathers fault in the least. Mr. Sloan has a point about the church but seems to be over reacting regarding the other stuff. The idea that he doesn’t see or understand it as favoritism or special consideration to a board member by the administration is what is troubling to me.

  188. I will make one more comment, then I will bow out of this conversation. If I sounded really miffed at mrs. Scavo, and rambled on a bit, you will just have to chalk that up as me having feet of clay. Yep, I was angry. I’m imperfect and I’m much more likely to be overly defensive when those I love are brought into the conversation. My dad, my church, and my pastor didn’t run for elected office, I did. Yeah, and I know the whole “put on your big boy britches, you’re in office” thing. But I still haven’t given up on civility in public discourse – and I won’t. So, I will hear your criticisms, suggestions, and ideas. I believe in accountability from those I serve. I would just ask that we keep it the issues.

    To make the implication that my dad, who has worked for Jones for ten years, six years before I became a board member, and who was the CO’s choice to look after that building, should be penalized because I ran for office 4 years ago, seems very unfortunate to me.

    I will sign off from this site by saying this. I’ve never had a lot of money, or much power or prestige of any kind. Probably good, because I wouldn’t think I could handle it well. But I have always tried to guard my character and reputation. Hard to do in an elected position, though. I guess we are to the point where every decision, every vote, every move of any leader at any level is always suspect of shady dealings and self serving. It’s sad because I know some honest folks still serving our communities.

    I try to live as this quote says: “In the arena of ideas – condescension and disrespect rarely get you close enough to the front row for your voice to make a difference.”

    I hope we all move together toward the front rows.

    I look forward to serving Hall County for four more years. Give me a call if I can ever help you.

    brian sloan

  189. What goes on in our schools is just so frustrating. I think our board members need to get out in the schools and see first hand. This isn’t about the state not providing money-what we all are talking about are completely local problems. I think one day (if it hasn’t started to happen already) you all will look back and say “what was I thinking?”

    We want good, right, and just. Please bring that back to the system!

  190. You’re right Brian, it is unfortunate.
    Honestly, I think you have every right to be miffed also. Your dad is a great guy. As for my prediction that your dad might be named as the Jones caretaker, it was not meant as a “dig” at you or your father. It was a product of my cynicism of the way the current Hall county administration does business. You have my sincere apologies for it. What is unfortunate is that so many people have been treated in such a way over the last few years that they, and many others who have witnessed it, have lost faith in the district leaders and by association the members of the board. It wasn’t this way in Hall Co up until fairly recently. I do not really think the board members are horrible people and I believe that you all truly attempt to do the best you can with the information you are given in most cases.

    I do believe, however that you all are not given all the information you need by Schofield and several of the top central office administrators. You are given spin.

    I do fault you all for continuously refusing to listen to people who have had their lives and livelihoods impacted and threatened by the people who you and your fellow board members employ to run the system.

    I am glad you commented on this board Brian. I wish you had done so earlier regarding some of the other issues that have been posted about instead of waiting for the one that affected you personally and directly however.

    As I have said before I regret the need for anonymity. But I and many others know what happens if we were to speak freely. I understand your position regarding this and respect it, but I wish you could at least attempt to see our side of things regarding our perceived need for it.

    The sad fact is there has been retaliation that comes down from the top in many instances, whether you wish to believe it or not. The people in the schools are well aware of it and your inaction in dealing with it or even recognizing it when they see and hear it quite often is what is now leading to things such as Mrs Schavo’s blast.

    I understand you have to support your superintendent, but you have a greater responsibility to support the employees of the school system. Please, win their faith back!

    All that said, If you or the pastor feel that the post made by Mrs. Schavo is too far over the line or defamatory I will delete it and respectfully ask her to repost in a more civil manner. Just let me know.

  191. Hallconcern, as you know, I’ve been aware in the past of some of your views, and have seen posts in other places, but I don’t recall ever personally being on this site until very recently – or I might have posted before. I enjoy writing my viewpoints almost to a fault and sometimes wade in when I shouldn’t.

    Certainly we wouldn’t agree about a number of things. But I appreciate the apology and tone of your post. As I’ve stated, one of my foundational principles is that the accusatory tone of our public discourse – federal, state, and local (including myself) is one of the barriers to finding true solutions to our problems. I am committed to redouble my efforts and will not give up the notion that good men and women can have vigorous disagreement and debate without resorting to rhetoric that would be a poor example to the very children we desire to teach. If those who dissent on this and other blogs will strive to work together with that in mind, I believe the blogs could become a place where more community leaders would engage.

    I, for one, spend a lot of time trying to explain my beliefs and positions. I tell folks that people don’t normally get upset with me for what I did – they get mad at me for what they thought I did. So, getting out accurate info is important to me.

    So, thanks for offering to remove the offensive comments. That’s entirely your call, but it’s good of you to offer, and thanks for the kind words about my dad.

    blessings,

  192. So, how many people are aware of the meeting tonight at Lanier Career Academy with our representative from the state BOA? We (employees) found out via an email from the super early Sunday morning. Again, it just feels like they’re trying to pull something. Unless this gentleman woke up Sunday morning and thought “I believe I’ll just mosey up to Hall county tomorrow and meet with those fine folks”, then I believe it has been scheduled for longer than a day. So why, during the busiest week of the school year, are we given one day’s notice? It sure feels like they didn’t really want us to be there. Because obviously we’re so happy, no one bothered to come. Forget the concerts, awards nights, etc. that were already scheduled.

  193. An article just popped up on the Times telling us teachers are in for 8 furlough days next year.

    Then at the end of the article, there was this gem:

    “If we have to move toward personnel cuts, we can look at a system of evaluation that includes student achievement and peer perception,” Schofield said. “We continue to believe that teachers know who is the most effective, and we can get their opinions anonymously so we’re not cutting the youngest and most recent hires but the least effective teachers.”

    Anonymous peer perceptions? Oh boy. What IS he talking about? How would I know what goes on in someone else’s classroom? I’m too busy worrying about my own!

  194. That statement has to be the single most asinine thing I have ever heard.
    This guy is in charge of a multi- million dollar budget and the professional lives of thousands of people? It boggles the mind.
    What is this? Middle school?

    Isn’t he the one that discounts and disparages anonymous posts and blogging and comments all the time. I guess only when it pertains to his delicate little self.

    The sad thing is this just underscores the so called leadership’s refusal to take responsibility or ownership of anything. I can hear it now: “Gee whiz Mrs. Teacher, we really like you but a bunch of unaccountable people who may or may not exist tell us you are a lousy teacher so we are letting you go. Sorry, not our fault. ”

    The Hall County Schools Leadership Way: make life changing decision based on anonymous tattling and rumors. Sounds about right.

    Up next- how to run your classroom and assign grades based on student popularity and brown nosing: The Hall County Model.

    What a bunch of children we have running this school system.

  195. Question for Brian Sloan (or any other board member)

    Do you support Schofield in this anonymous teacher perception way of evaluating collegues?

    This seems like a frightening way to create a lot of strife, suspicion and a totally hostile working environment in our schools. Is this the future for Hall?

    What sort of effect do you see this having on our kids?

  196. I spent many years working on the private sector (human resources). I can’t imagine having anonymous peer reviews, esp from people that you don’t even work with. Yes, there was a movement towards a similar thing called 360 degree review, but that involved more of a coaching aspect, and feedback came from your manager, fellow employees (that you actually worked with on a daily basis), and outside vendors, customers, etc who could vouch for your performance from first hand experience.

    In the case of Hall County, it seems like it will be “Well, someone said you were a bad teacher, so you are fired”
    Teacher – “Who?”
    Hall County – “I can’t tell you that..”
    Teacher – “Well, what did they say?”
    Hall Co’ – ” I can’t tell you that”

    This would never, ever fly in a the corporate world. You would be opening yourselves to major wrongful termination lawsuits. Maybe the anonymous peer reviewer said you were too old. Too black. Too white. Too female. Not Christian enough to fit in. Too Jewish. You get the picture. This could also change the culture at the schools to one where teachers don’t trust each other and have to worry about appearances to their peers when they should be focusing on the classroom.

    Once word gets out about this, the only teachers you will get to work here are fresh out of school and desperate. I’m so glad I made the right decision to resign. I have never felt better about a decision. I’m going to work for a district where they react in shock when I tell them about how things work here. They just can’t believe it and neither can I.

  197. No response Brian?

  198. Brian,

    Bringing your church into this topic could have been out of line.

    However, I read your post and I must say that you seem to be in the dark. Is it or is it not true that two years ago Dr. Richard Hill instructed principals on how to layoff employees so they cannot draw unemployment? Why would Dr. Gibbs go to an elementary school to tell a custodian who is about to retire that he can either “move to another school”,”resign”or “be terminated” and ONLY give him ONE day to decide?

    This might be why Dr. Gibbs nickname at Johnson and throughout the school system is “The Mortician” as Dr. Gibbs colleagues informed yesterday.

    After reading your post I made a few phone calls to the custodian who was fired at Jones by Dr. Gibbs. Brian, was it appropriate to show this custodian a photo of another family member during his termination? Wouldn’t that be called extortion? Oh Wait, did I mention that the photo of his mother came from the superintendent Will Schofield himself? For Hall County to stoop that low as to force one to “resign” by threatening a family member is highly inappropriate and uncalled for. Those are the ways and methods of people who are wicked. Showing our children this is how Hall County does business is “a poor example to the very children we desire to teach”. Here’s where it might hit home for you. One of the questions I ask him was “Did you call your board member”, he said “Yes, I called Brian two or three times at his church during work hours, went up to the church during working hours AND even emailed him but after all that Brian Sloan didn’t call me back or even reply to my email”. I believe he even said Jeff is the one who gave him your email address to hallco. which is odd, why do you use the church email (like in your message above) when hallco. gives you one.

    WAY TO GO BRIAN! Your lack of concern and care to even reply or call back I find “offensive, unfortunate and inappropriate” cause that’s what you’re there for. And those are only TWO stories out of many! You see, if it was only those two stories I might could move on but it’s not. It is a story that repeats itself and repeats. I have worked with Hallco. for three decades! I have seen A LOT in my day but when I heard the seconded story from MY PRINCIPAL who heard it from Lois Myer (his principal), I couldn’t say I was not surprised.

    Somehow I have a strong feeling that your father would not have been shown a photo of YOU, then told to resign or be terminated. Wait… now I have a question. Brian why didn’t you call back? Was it just uninteresting to you? Are you willing to say that you dropped the ball on this one and did not fulfill your duties?

    I think it is safe to say that Will Schofield and Hall County BOE have failed the people.

  199. Another question… Dr. Richard Hill forced the band teacher at North Hall to resign cause he had sexual relations with a student. Does anyone know if this student was underage? As a mother I want to know cause if so then he shouldn’t get the easy way out by “resigning” cause Hallco. didn’t want any of the media to pick up on it!

  200. I haven’t checked this site in several days and I don’t check it on a regular basis. I have absolutely no idea of the situations you are mentioning. I have made it a practice to return my calls within 24 hours and am available at CMC for anyone to come see me. I am not a hard person to get to. The Hallco email address is forwarded to my CMC email address.

    TBH it is angry rhetoric and underinformed accusations that keep me away for sites like these. I don’t know of a more accessible person in this town. My home phone is 770-967-6706, office 770-967-3197 x223 and email bsloan@chesntutmountain.org. Anonymous blogging opens up the doors to such angry rhetoric as seen with Mrs. Scavo and that Is not how I learned to communicate. That method keeps reasoned debate from taking place..

    Email me, call me, send me any questions you have and I will check on them, but I won’t field anonymous angry accusations found here in this way.

    In the arena of ideas, condescension and disrespect rarely get you close enough to the front row for your voice to make a difference.

    Let’s move toward the front row.

  201. So no to answering anonymous questions about using anonymous teacher input to get rid of teachers?

    Make a heck of a lot of sense. OK for you all but not acceptable for anyone else? Is this what you are saying Brian?

  202. The really sad thing about all this is the fact I wasn’t shocked to read all these details. It happens and has happened in Hall County for at least the last three years.

  203. “I have absolutely no idea of the situations you are mentioning”. Brian, let’s be clear and not muddy the water. Are you publicly stating that you did not receive any phone calls, messages from your church secretary, or any emails of any kind from a Hall County employee trying to get in touch?

    If this is the case, maybe you should hold back from doing Hall County work at your church so others wont be neglected as well.

  204. You know, this Jones thing has people that don’t have ties to the school system even talking. We now have a county completely full of upset people, but what can we do? Elect ONE new board member? What good will that do? The board will blame it on the economy and tough decisions, but if they think their constituents are mad about just that they are sorely mistaken.

  205. Great article

    http://www.ajc.com/news/government-waste/ajc-special-school-central-533227.html

    Too bad AJC doesn’t cover Hall County (other than in the blogs).
    But on the other hand, can the public get an accurate count of Hall County’s central office? One year one central office position was coded as a substitute teacher.

  206. http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2010/05/24/do-we-have-to-pay-top-dollar-for-school-superintendents/

    Another great AJC piece. We may be able to blog our way to a positive change in Hall County by getting an elected superintendent.

  207. Nice to see some light on this issue.

    I’d be happy if we could just blog our way to a real superintendent :-)

  208. There seemed to be a ‘miscoding” or two this past year also.

  209. Lets run down the list over the last year…

    Jackie Adams (Forced to resign)
    Bill Thompson (Resigned to run for school board)
    Linda Thompson (who knows?)
    Susan Adams (Forced to resign)
    Pat Tilson (Forced to resign so family member Lois Myers can have a job)
    Janet Adams (Forced to resign)
    Karol Scarborough (Who knows?)
    Alan Kirkland (Had sexual relations with a student. All of which took place on his school email account. How stupid!)

    That is a total of seven principals and one band teacher.

    The word I heard is that Robin Gower is next cause Hall County wants to bring in a male to help with the unruliness of the students like they did by bringing Dr. Turpin to Lyman Hall. Where is he now? Sitting at central office with the good old boys!

    I will not readdress the wrongful farming out of custodians they are doing but all this shows you what kind of men Will Schofield and his little snake Dr. Richard Hill really are.

    Yet, Brian Sloan agrees with these two in just about everything they do. The common person wouldn’t think this is okay unless they have something to gain from it. In Brians case it is job security for his father.

    People, we ARE Hall County! We need to let our voices be heard! Email will.schofield@hallco.org and richard.hill@hallco.org and let them know how you feel! Do it anonymously! Then email Kathy Cox at state.superintendent@doe.k12.ga.us. After that let them know you really mean business by emailing/calling Fox 5, 11 Alive, and Channel 2! You can also do that anonymously. I promise you if we come together Hall County will HAVE to answer to the media.

  210. It has been over a year now since I was notified by Hall County that I was going to be non-renewed and I am still emotionally wounded. How do you get over something like that??? And, the reason I mention this is because I currently teach in GCPS, so I should be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to have been hired and I love my I school. Is a matter of fact, I have never worked under such professionalism. They are not perfect, but they do support their teachers even during this uncertain economy. However, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how Hall County Schools handled the laying off of 135 teachers. I realize this is old news, but there are many former non-renewed Hall County teachers who still do not have teaching jobs and are most likely emotionally wounded as well.

    On another note, I have been following your blogs and I am sickened by the depth of corruption, especially since BOE closed Jones Elementary. Speaking of Jones, I heard through a teacher friend of mine(at Jones Elementary) that Hall County continues to make repairs and upgrades to that school. Anyway, Rumor has it,and it’s just rumor, that Jones will eventually be a World Language Academy Middle School. This does not surprise me since I do recall attending a county meeting for fifth grade teachers at the end of last year discussing the new Da Vinci Academy. I remember Sally saying that Will Schofield mentioned to her that with the World Language Academy and the new Da Vinci Academy , Hall County would eventually have to do something for those graduating students. Now, I don’t know what “do something ” means exactly but given that Jones is now closed as an elementary school, it would not surprise me if it were re-opened as a middle school for World Language later on….At any rate, my feeling is that he definitely has plans for those students weather it is at Jones or another location.

  211. Mrs. Scavo- these are not good ole boys. I’ve worked for good ole boys and it is not so bad. Something of a different sort has taken hold of our central office.

  212. Mrs. Scavo,

    Where in the world do you get your information? I understand that Tadmore Elementary, Mrs. Gower’s school, was one of the schools with the fewest discipline referrals in county! They had less than 20 discipline referrals for the entire year! Some schools have that in one day. Unruliness isn’t a problem at this school. They have great parents who are incredibly supportive, a caring faculty, and two of the best administrators around.

    Mrs. Gower’s school had incredible gains in 3rd and 5th grade math and is known as a school with both great academic achievement and classroom management.

    I think her job is safe, and they are lucky to have her as a principal. You need to get your facts straight.

    Hall County, like any other county, is going to have some problems. But overall, this is a great system with dedicated teachers, caring administrators, and students that can compete with any other in the state.

    I am proud of Hall County and the people who make it great!

  213. http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/34298/

    Shame on the Times for not allowing comments.

    If a superintendent of schools or his HR Director don’t know the difference between a termination and an allowed resignation then they have absolutely no business running a school system. Period. The only reasons I see for not firing this guy are cowardice and an attempt to keep things quiet.

    Schofield is right about one thing, it is playing with words. And he and Hill are the ones doing the playing to suit themselves from where I sit.

    It seems that someone may be playing with the truth a bit here: ” The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has not yet received the letter to open an investigation, ethics director Gary Walker reported Monday afternoon. If the commission opens an investigation, the ethics committee could decide to revoke Kirkland’s teacher certification, which would prevent him from working at another school.

    “There were allegations which didn’t appear consistent with what we expect of our professionals,” Schofield said. “We dealt with it immediately and had a conversation with the PSC the day we heard about it.”

    Seems Schofield and Walker disagree a bit? Hmmmm

  214. Looks like Schavo had her story right on that one :-).

  215. I would lay money that this came out in the Times as a result of Mrs. Scavos’ post. Otherwise it would have stayed buried.

    Waiting a month or so to turn this over to PSC is entirely inexcusable. But not surprising for Hall Co. administration. They probably did call to get an opinion from PSC and then when the guy resigned they (Hall administration) made the descision not to turn it in so as to keep it out of the presss – like Schogo said, he felt they had handled it by the guy leaving. They will only do it now because they have to if you ask me.
    My opinion is they never intended to turn him in to PSC. If not why have they still not turned it in? Guess it would be ok for him to go off and do it somewhere else to someone else’s daughter as long as it was quiet around here.

    Kudos to whoever brought it to light!

  216. What do you think Brian? Would love a board member’s perspective!

  217. I agree with the Times about not allowing comments on the story. I think it is out of respect for the girl and her family.

    Have you all noticed that Ms. Crist’s reporting is scrappier than the other education reporters in the past? She is not relying solely on comments given by the BOE to write her articles and she is not leaving out or cleaning up the quirky comments by WS.

  218. I noticed that. Wonder how long before she gets taken off the school beat.
    One can definitly tell that there is some question about Schogo and the rest trying to keep it quiet. I agree with the angry parents. Not firing the guy or turning it over to the PSC leaves it open for him to go somewhere else and do it to another student. That is inexcusable.

  219. I am sure that this is the last thing Hall County needed or wanted…….. Nothing like trying to cover your @&&&………

  220. 2010 CRCT scores do not look very good for Hall in comparison to other counties. Any thoughts?

  221. Yep. The last few years of poor decision making at the top is starting to show. Smoke and mirrors and bandwagon jumping willy nilly can only go so far. Lack of planning and maintaining incorrect focus is catching up.

  222. Read about Hall Co.’s plans for Jones….
    Why couldn’t they do this AND keep Jones open like the PTO suggested?
    Sounds like they may be setting this up for a k-2 World Language Academy?

  223. I am sure they could have. That would be my guess also, and I firmly believe this was all planned by Schofield from the get go. All he seems to care about are his pet programs and building that resume with this academy and that academy. First he said that the money saved was primarily from closing the Jones building up as the staff was ‘following the students’. Now we are saving all this money by reducing the redundant staff. Which is it?

    I am very disappointed in Brian Sloan at this point also. It is apparent now that he, like Schofield, will comment on blogs regarding things that have a direct bearing on himself personally or when he is mad, but not about anything else having to do with the system.

    One has to believe he knew this was the plan also when they went through the motions of the public hearings and told the public closing Jones was a not a done deal when it seems it actually was.

    Sad.

  224. Hall Concern – you called Brian Sloan out for not reacting to comments made on this blog, but others have been asked direct questions on this blog and do not answer.

    Mrs. Scavo called educators by name as if she/he had some insider information. When asked about the source of these comments, there was no reply. Instead, you give her/him praise as being the source that brought a personnel issue to light.

    Just saying what’s good for one is good for all. You can’t hold folks to different standards just because one supports your way of thinking and the other does not.

  225. I understand what you are trying to say but as far as I know Mrs Schavo is not a Hall County School Board of Education member partially in charge of the use of millions of tax payers’ dollars and setting policy for our students’ education. VERY big difference in my way of thinking and a VERY different standard that should be adhered to.

    And just to be clear, I didn’t “call him out”. I invited him to participate and provide input. When he didn’t I expressed my disappointment and my opinion regarding why. I firmly believe that the idea for what was planned for Jones was drawn up before the public hearings regarding its closure were held. I have to assume the board members knew this. If not they need to better reign in their super as he makes it look like they did, at least to me.

  226. And I would bet you would feel differently regarding that just merely being a ‘personnel issue’ if one of your kids or friends were involved.

    This system has simply got to stop trying to hide or evade unpleasant issues.

  227. Hall Concern – point taken. In my opinion, we should all be held to the same standards – don’t talk/write/blog about things without having your facts straight. AND, if you have facts to support your comments, be willing to respond to requests. Blog all you want, but when you start using names of folks without having ANY facts, you need to be careful. This is what Mrs. Scavo did.

    And just a word of warning, be VERY CAREFUL making assumptions. You have no way of knowing if my child or friend was involved in the situation or not. I have no problem with the issue being made public, I just disagree that Mrs. Scavo’s post had anything to do with the newspaper article. It often takes time for things to hit the paper when dealing with even the worst of personnel situations.

    Enjoy the blog – too much supposition and assumption for me.

  228. Good points. I pray that no one close to you was involved. I’ll disagree regarding the month it took to hit the papers as it was around town within a few days.

    As I have said over and over, the best way for Hall Co. leaders to end the ” supposition and assumption” is to address questions and be transparent about everything. As you point out quite well, we we avoid questions and cloud issues then others can only believe there is something to hide in many cases and that there are underlying reasons for the avoidances. Been my point all along.

  229. Good points. I pray that no one close to you was involved. I’ll disagree regarding the month it took to hit the papers as it was around town within a few days.

    As I have said over and over, the best way for Hall Co. leaders to end the ” supposition and assumption” is to address questions and be transparent about everything. As you point out quite well, when we avoid questions and cloud issues then others can only believe there is something to hide in many cases and that there are underlying reasons for the avoidances. Been my point all along.

  230. Could anyone get the questions that Chad submitted to the board concerning Jones along with the board responses? I would love to read these questions and their answers.

  231. When are you all going to get it through your thick skulls that no one up here needs your permission or input on school system decisions? So what if the use of the Jones building was decided on before the vote to close it? What makes you think you know better than the people in charge? Get over yourselves.

  232. Just what do you mean by, “no one up here needs your permission or input on school system decisions” ???? I smell something really rotten brewing down town!

  233. Well hi there Doc. Always good to hear from an old favorite. Still proving points I see.

  234. Need to watch this very carefully folks. Sounds a bit familiar huh Richard?

    Former teachers claim Gwinnett had covert layoffs

    http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett/former-teachers-claim-gwinnett-602761.html

  235. Didn’t realize Dr Hill worked for Buford schools too. Sounds just like something he would do.

    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=232723

  236. Sounds pretty similar to Hall

    Metro Atlanta / State News 7:09 p.m. Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Gwinnett Schools Superintendent Wilbanks could face ethics investigation

    By D. Aileen Dodd

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    A state board will decide Wednesday whether to launch an ethics investigation against Gwinnett Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, accused of misconduct in layoffs that eliminated 150 jobs.

    The Georgia Professional Standards Commission will consider complaints filed by former teachers who have charged Wilbanks with misleading the public about the layoffs in order to avoid a parental backlash. The teachers allege they were downsized because they made too much money in a tight budget year, and that this happened after district officials had told them they wouldn’t face layoffs.

    The teachers claim the district covertly cut the jobs, even though many of the educators had stellar reviews and advanced degrees.

    State educator ethics officials said they typically don’t get involved with employee disputes but this situation intrigued them because of the volume of complaints.

    “There are so many of them,” said Gary Walker, executive director of the ethics division.

    Thirteen teachers initially filed complaints against Wilbanks in September, which were rejected, with some of them resubmitted. Walker said 10 new complaints were received before the November meeting deadline, but others were still trickling in.

    Suzanne Hammontree Maness, a former social studies department chair, wants Gwinnett Schools to admit to the reasons behind the layoffs so teachers can clear their records and get new jobs. The 22-year teaching veteran said she was cut just before reaching tenure and receiving a contract to continue in the classroom for a fourth year in Gwinnett.

    “I have not been able to get my feet in the door in two districts — DeKalb and Walton county schools — because of my non-renewal,” Maness said. “I was making almost $75,000. I have nothing in my record that indicates I had a performance issue. This is about the economy. They needed to let higher-paid teachers go.”

    Teachers have received uncontested unemployment compensation after Georgia Department of Labor investigations ruled they were fired without cause, Maness said.

    “If you are going to expect kids to be honest, you have to be honest yourselves,” said Pete Toggerson, Uniserve director for the GAE. “An overwhelming number of them got unemployment benefits. The school system regularly challenges unemployment [compensation] where teachers have been dismissed for cause.”

    Gwinnett Schools officials, however, said the non-renewals were performance-based rather than cost-cutting measures.

    “The complaints are without merit,” said Sloan Roach, Gwinnett Schools spokeswoman.

    According to the Gwinnett school district, 145 teachers did not receive renewal agreements. That represented a 163-percent increase over the previous year, when 55 teachers were not renewed.

    Tonysha Johnson, a former English teacher, filed a five-page complaint in the first round and was discouraged by its rejection and ensuing recommendation to fit her affidavit on one page. She didn’t refile, but said she will attend the Professional Standards Commission meeting to support those who did.

    Johnson was shocked when her principal told her that she wouldn’t be renewed.

    “I have never had a negative review,” she said. ” I have been asked to supervise student teachers and mentor veterans on classroom management. I was made team leader. They chose me to get gifted certification … and paid hundreds of dollars for it.”

    Johnson was offered the option to resign so it wouldn’t stain her record and prevent her from getting another teaching job.

    “People should know what Gwinnett County did,” she said. “If they just let people go the right way, there wouldn’t be these problems. … Saying they would lie to the PSC for you if you [resign] is unethical.”

    http://www.ajc.com/news/gwinnett-schools-superintendent-wilbanks-735226.html

  237. Another thing Hall Co. administrators have to look forward to is the tea party becoming more active in local meetings- like school board meetings.

  238. Let’s make 2011 the year of the subversive educator…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/larry-strauss/2011-the-year-of-the-subv_b_802449.html

  239. DeKalb, Atlanta, Cobb, and Fulton are all in the market for a new superintendent!

  240. Maybe Schogo will snag one of them. Then he and Deal can be neighbors again!

  241. I just heard a Special Ed. teacher with 7 years experience in a critical field was just laid off and told there would be a lot more as well as they will target high paid teachers. She was told they will just start to combine classes since they can up the class sizes. Has anyone heard anything about this?

  242. I believe the teachers should be allowed to make up some (or all) of their time by logging all of the extra hours they spend on school stuff. I know this is an allowable possible alternative; I read in the AJC today that several systems are using this option. It’s insulting to spend so much time working outside of school hours and then told that we must make up our lost time. As a friend of mine put it: “I know I must work to get paid, but shouldn’t I get paid for the work I do?”

  243. Surely you jest! Trust teachers?! Unheard of!

  244. You know, the folks at 711 Green are probably working overtime to get all the comments removed from the Gainesville Times website about extending the school day. (Just like they did on Teachers.net with blogs related to Hall County)

  245. There are some true nuts falling from the trees over there tonight. I feel sorry for NHParent about all the mess they are taking for just having an opinion. Of course that kind of sums up Hall schools these days.

  246. Old Schogo is a real uniter, that is for sure.

  247. Wonder which administrator stupidparents is?

  248. Hunker down, my friends. A new wave of intimidation and bullying is underfoot. Must be a new directive to rid the schools of some of the employees to save money. This is happening to highly respected teachers who do great work.

    Why is Hall County allowed to do this year after year? Don’t these people ever worry about “what goes around, comes around?” Make no mistake, these are not poorly performing teachers, they just have the misfortune of being a little too high on the payscale.

  249. Folks are going to have to start standing up for themselves and each other loudly.

  250. Yep, already started at some schools. Twenty+ years teachers are all of a sudden not cutting it. I cannot believe they are doing his to loyal employees so close to retirement. I hope there is a special place in hell for the people causing this.

  251. I hope all these teachers share their stories with the board members and their community. Board members hearing the same stories year after year would eventually have to start listening….

    What has happened to integrity?

  252. Wow. I did not realize that teachers were being treated like this. I work for Hall county,but not as a teacher. My job seems to be in danger,because of a supervisior that is being allowed to treat workers like dirt, even telling us we are not allowed to talk about the supervisor, and this supervisior cusses at us at meetings. I have so little hope that the county will do anything about this person. Any advise you guys could give would be greatly appreciated

  253. Document everything and tape record your meetings. You never know when you might need that info. Unfortunately teachers in this county have been doing this for a few years. They not only have to keep paperwork on the students they teach, they now feel the need to document interactions with admin. Just keep your head up and remember what goes around comes around :)

  254. Thank you sad but true, Ive only been there for a few years, The supervisor has been there for a few more years than that. This person keeps getting by with the abuse. The people who complains don’t come back to work. I don’t know what kind of magic power this person has. This supervisor has told us not to talk about them even amongst ourselves.

  255. Prayer can open other doors and change hearts. I feel strongly that is this time of unsettling events and actions by others that we need to lift each other up in prayer.

  256. Yes! Three more weeks and I’m out of this mess for good. I now understand that Hallco is cutting out the ELL department. So these positions that are working directly with (and making a difference with) students are being cut, while they continue to spend a ridiculous amount of money on literacy coaches. Give me a break!

  257. Keep telling people what is going on. The best way to get our schools back on track is information to the public.

    Keep fighting.

  258. I am one of those high paid teachers who gets good results with kids, and I was cut. In the meantime, Hall County is looking to hire two more assistant principals and literacy coaches (another quasi supervisory position) for the 2011-12 school year. Parents wake up. Actions speak louder than words.

  259. Did you know the average ISS teacher in Hall makes between 55 and 70 thousand dollars to sit in a room watching a few kids a day? One ISS teacher is paid $90,000 and is a head coach. Special Ed teachers and ELL teachers must be cut but the real waste is still collecting a pay check for doing little to nothing at promoting learning or student success

  260. Dare I mention the “U” word? While teachers’ unions do have many problems, teachers would at least be protected by the shenanigans of the Central Office.

    Another option: We could simply start practicing “work to the rule.” This means that all teachers would only be at school during officially-stated work hours unless they are paid a stipend for coaching, etc.

    I don’t want to short-change my students, but working lots of extra hours at school hasn’t paid off so far by raising me to the principal’s Top 20 list of favorites, and it’s much more comfortable to work from home…

  261. I have been a teacher for nearly 20 years in 3 different states and 7 different school sytems and this year was the first time I have seen teacher’s schedules changed 8 days into the new school year. It is the first time I have seen entire classes have their schedule changed due to having a non-certified teacher accidently placed in a regular classroom. This is the first time I have witnessed an entire class go unchecked with no teacher or other adult in the classroom for 2 days and then have only a sub for another 6 days. This is the first time I have seen over 8 days pass while students are still not scheduled correctly and are in limbo. This is the first time I have seen classes overloaded to the point no seat is available in several rooms while only 2-4 students sit in other rooms. Yet, here we are with testing in less than 8 weeks, and life has come to stand still waiting for the scheduling to be worked out. I think there is a computer program out there that will schedule students with teachers in each area and if not, we need to be using that free tax splost money to create one. Why are schools not doing this? This is the 21st century and we are living like it is the year 1950 with scratch pads and spread sheets. Teacher and student schedules should be in place before each previous school year ends and not 8 days into the new school year.

  262. Unfortunately that is about normal for us now. Not many left who have a clue how to run things. Seems to get worse every year.

  263. What exactly is Schofield’s wife doing working in the system now?

  264. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this blog. I really hope to check out the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now ;)

  265. Let’s get real here; the only reason Hall Co schools are so inept is we have an UNelected superintendent with a mindless elected school board that believes any tripe they hear. Basically, all teachers are bad, all administrators are good, plus an unknowing tax paying public. Teachers are the only ones accountable for everything – not John Barge or Any member of the general assembly.

  266. So where does Silly Willy Schofield and our board members stand on the Charter School Amendment?

    I am guessing there is not enough spine in all of them put together to stand up for our kids against Gov. Dealeo and come out against it as they should and as all other district leaders in the state are.

  267. Gutless wonders the entire bunch.

    http://www.accessnorthga.com/detail.php?n=253307

  268. http://stopcommoncore.com/
    Hello? Where is everyone? No posts for months…meanwhile, same ol, same ol.

  269. Does anyone know why Shane Rayburn is moving to North Hall Middle? Doesn’t seem like a good fit to me……

  270. http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/83766/

    Looks like some eyes may be opening. Folks finally getting tired of Schofield and company always putting programs over people. Enough is enough. Time for a new direction.

  271. Why do North Hall continue getting upgrades and renovation, while other schools gets a laminated gym floor??? Why do the school have mold growing in the music room??? Kids playing on a playground that is not safe…Got pictures for proof…Inquiring minds really want to know???

  272. One more example of why we need an elected superintendent.

  273. Why did NHHS have to travel to Virginia for a scrimmage? Could they find no worthy opponent within three hundred miles? Student athletes missed two days of classes due to the trip. Good to see what the priorities are.

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