At its Wednesday work session, the board will discuss the proposed STEM Inventors Academy and Teach For America partnerships, transportation for school choice students and how the new director of human resources will be reorganizing his staff.
At the end of the February work session, Angelucci asked that Teach For America and the charter school be put on the March agenda to give members an opportunity to talk about the topics in public, but chairman Scott Sweeney said no other board members supported her request, so they were left off. However, since then, Angelucci has received the required backing from at least one other board member.
The Teach For America partnership was set to go to a vote in January, but was taken off the agenda at the request of Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa just minutes before the board meeting without explanation to board members.
Under the partnership, the district would have hired 50 provisional teachers in south Cobb schools on two-year contracts, which would have cost the district $400,000 on top of normal salaries. Hinojosa said the extra costs would be paid for with private funds.
According to documents the Journal obtained under an Open Records request, Hinojosa had been working behind the scenes for about five months to contract to bring 50 TFA teachers to Cobb. His signature appears on an August 2011 contract between Cobb and Teach For America, which was for “up to 20 teachers.”
District staff had also applied for a $350,000 Race to the Top grant in November for the teachers, but were denied.
As far as STEM Inventors Academy, district staff partnered with the proposed charter school and helped them apply for a $50,000 Race to the Top grant, but the school board didn’t learn of the partnership until February.
The district was ultimately forced to turn down the funds because neither Kennesaw State University nor Southern Polytechnic State University would take the lead on the school, and the district was legally barred from doing so.
Angelucci said last month that other than an email Hinojosa sent in late September 2011, the board didn’t talk with the superintendent or his staff regarding either partnership or fund application and that she was “disappointed” because she felt left out of the loop.
Neither Angelucci nor Sweeney returned calls for comment by press time Monday.
In other news, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Judi Jones will talk to the board about what to do with students using the county’s transportation services for school choice under the No Child Left Behind Act now that Georgia has been granted a waiver from the program.
Under NCLB, if a school fails to make AYP and is repeatedly placed on the “Needs Improvement” list, students can attend a school that has met standards. Jones said about 540 students are being bussed under school choice now. But Georgia’s NCLB waiver, which was approved in early February by the U.S. Department of Education, will eliminate the school choice option.
Children participating in the option program can stay at their schools until they reach the highest grade offered, but Jones wants to ask board members if they can afford to do that.
In other news, the district’s new Director of the Human Resources, Dr. Michael Shanahan, will give a report on how he has reorganized his department. Shanahan said he will add an employee yet cut personnel costs by about $40,000.
“The reorganization is intended to provide the best customer service in an economic way,” he said Monday. “It will allow fewer bosses and more staff to focus on the work of the department.”
The new hire will put the Human Resources department at about 52 employees.
Shanahan started on Feb. 1, replacing Dr. Donald Dunnigan, who resigned effective Oct. 31, 2011, after the district discovered seven employees within that department were receiving pay increases without the approval of district staff or the school board.
In other business, the board will also talk about:
n SPLOST maintenance needs and transportation.
n The superintendent’s evaluation process.
n Construction contracts for modification and renovations at Harrison High, McClure and Barber middle schools, and Sope Creek, Davis, Keheley, Riverside Intermediate and Russell elementary schools.