The annual contracts for central office employees and teachers don’t expire until June 30.
Board members thought January was a bit early to be considering renewing contracts of central office staff when teachers wouldn’t know if they would be rehired until late spring.
Chairwoman Kathleen Angelucci said the board would take its time considering Hinojosa’s proposal.
“We were concerned contracts were being considered before teacher contracts are decided on,” Angelucci said.
Board member David Banks also wondered about the early renewal.
“There was some question why we are doing it this month instead of more toward when teacher contracts are done in March and April,” Banks said.
Cobb County employs more than 6,000 teachers who will be alerted in April and early May if they will be hired for another year, said Connie Jackson, president of the Cobb County Association of Educators.
“Teachers won’t know until late spring, and I think all contracts should be up for re-evaluation and renewal at the same time,” Jackson said. “The reality is they should be treated just like teachers are treated, and no teacher knows if their job is secure.”
Favoring administrators over teachers
John Adams, president of Teacher’s First, a teacher advocacy group, balked at Hinojosa trying to rehire central office staff months before teachers.
“It’s not fair,” Adams said. “They need to be treated like every other employee in the district. It sends a bad message to your rank-and-file employees” who won’t know about their contracts until May, he said.
David Chastain of Acworth, a longtime school district critic, said it was a classic example of the superintendent favoring the central office over anyone else.
“It sounds like Cobb County Schools again shows that the district revolves around the central office and not around students, and what’s best for them,” Chastain said.
Chastain said he hoped the board would consider the performances of the cabinet members during the next six months before hiring them to work another year.
“Teachers find out in June whether or not they can plan for a summer vacation, or if have to look for a job. The advantages are placed on the central office and the cabinet, opposed to teachers,” he said.
District spokesman Jay Dillon said language in the cabinet members’ contracts says Hinojosa will tell the board who he intends to rehire by Jan. 31 although it’s not a board policy and is up to the board’s discretion.
Angelucci said the wording says the board is not obligated to act, but simply encouraged to vote to renew contracts by the end of March.
Not the only way to do things
Angelucci remembers a different way of renewing the contracts of cabinet members.
Under former Superintendent Fred Sanderson, who retired in 2011, cabinet contracts were brought to the board for renewal in March, and voted on in May, she said.
The formality of considering renewals in January was something Hinojosa began, she said.
“I understand the reasoning, the superintendent needs to know who he is going to be able to count on to do the work of the superintendent, I get that, but all the contracts are up at the same time,” Angelucci said.
There are 14 members of Hinojosa’s cabinet, which include five area superintendents, two deputy superintendents, and financial and human resources officers.
Dillon said Hinojosa did not recommend any promotions or raises for the cabinet members, just the renewal of their contracts.
Hinojosa receives a salary of $247,625, Deputy Superintendent Cheryl Hungerford receives $139,875, Deputy Superintendent Chris Ragsdale receives $139,875, Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause receives $127,470, Chief of Staff Angela Huff receives $129,958 and Dillon receives $87,715.32, according to open.ga.gov.