A letter from 51 teachers at West Henderson High School at least temporarily changed the mind of the local school board...and stopped the state's so-called 25 per cent contract and pay plan.
This came as State Representative Chuck McGrady, who co-chairs the state House Education Appropriations Committee, was hearing emotional stories of concern and hardhsip from teachers and administrators in the Henderson County Association of Educators.
The Hendersonville Times-News reported Tuesday that the Henderson County School Board voted unanimously Monday to table a second reading and vote on a state-mandated plan to select which teachers will receive four-year contracts and raises in lieu of “career status,” or tenure.
The General Assembly passed a budget bill last year that abolishes tenure, enacted in 1971 to protect educators from being dismissed or demoted without due process, and requires schools to identify 25 percent of their teachers to receive four-year contracts and $500 annual raises in its place.
School board members reluctantly Ok'd a draft plan to implement the state law last month, but tabled a second vote required for passage Monday after hearing a letter from 51 teachers at West Henderson High that was read aloud.
“We do not wish to participate in a law that seeks to divide and conquer, rather than unite a group of adults who work together every day to help young people prepare for their futures,” the letter read. The signees asked the board to follow the lead of other systems that “are choosing to fight the law.”
Last week, the Buncombe County School Board passed a resolution that requests the General Assembly “rescind all provisions of the Appropriations Act that eliminate career status for those teachers who already have been awarded” tenure. It further asks to use the state’s allocation for 25 percent contracts toward recruiting, retaining and rewarding “excellence in teaching.”
On Monday, Henderson County school board members asked that a similar resolution in opposition to the state’s mandate be drafted for consideration at their next meeting. It wasn’t clear whether board members intend to pass the resolution in place of the “contract selection plan,” or in concert with its adoption.