St. John teacher proposal is tabled

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 6, 2008


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – The St. John the Baptist Parish School Board at its meeting Thursday tabled a proposal that would create three new job categories, including a master teacher position in St. John schools, and reluctantly accepted the abrupt resignation of a 20-year veteran of the parish school system.

Board Member Russell Jack successfully moved to postpone a decision on a recommendation made by the personnel committee last week to implement the three job descriptions after suggesting the board had not sufficiently “digested” the financial ramifications of the proposal.

The job categories in question are: Title I master teachers, whose responsibilities would include coaching primary school teachers by demonstrating instructional methods in the class room; Title II coordinators of instruction and professional development for teachers; and two instructional technology master teachers in the two West Bank schools.

But the proposal would draw from schools’ federal Title I grants, money given for services to low-income students, reallocating one quarter of the funds to create the jobs.   

Board members largely mirrored Jack’s caution – the motion to table passed 6-3.

“Our position is being eliminated,” said Belinda Bailey, who identified herself as the curriculum coordinator of West St. John High School.  “We found out today,” she said, “we kind of think that we should have been told this a little earlier.”

Board Member Russ Wise, who opposed the motion to table and indicated he would endorse the recommendation, suggested increasing the minimum requirements “after a year or so.”

The meeting took a more somber tone when Supervisor of Child Welfare and Attendance Robert Schaff confirmed his resignation before the board that had been a late addendum to the agenda. Several board members were surprised by the news and had said they were hesitant to accept “a resignation they hadn’t even seen yet,” as School Board President Gerald Keller put it.

Schaff recently accepted a position with the State Department of Education.

Many board members said they were sad to see Schaff go but thanked him for his service.

“It came as a surprise to all of us,” said Board Member Matthew Ory. “We wish you the best.”